A chance meeting on Fremont streets last month led to a drag race that took the lives of three 16-year-olds and critically injured a fourth.
Dodge County Attorney Oliver Glass said Quinton Amundson, 16, told investigators that he was driving a 1990 Chevrolet Camaro involved in the fatal race. Amundson said he came upon Fremont High School classmate Jackson Blick in his 1966 Ford Mustang, and they decided to race.
After reviewing the accident reports, Glass has charged Amundson with willful reckless driving, drag racing and driving left of the center line. All three charges are misdemeanors.
With Blick in the Mustang were fellow classmates Tyler Walling, Trey Hansen and Jake Burnside. The teens in the Mustang and Amundson had all recently completed their sophomore year at Fremont High.
At least three cars of teenagers headed out of town to Old Highway 8 just west of U.S. Highway 275. Fremont-area residents have used the lonely stretch of road for years to blow the dust out of their engines.
The race ended when Blick lost control of his car and it rolled several times, causing his death and the deaths of two passengers.
“We haven’t had any racing problems out on that highway since I’ve been in the County Attorney’s Office, but I’ve now been hearing that in the past it was known as a spot for racing,” Glass said.
“It’s a tragic situation, because 16-year-olds don’t always make the best decisions.”
Amundson, who was alone in his car, stopped to render aid and call 911, Glass said.
The teen also spoke with deputies from the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and troopers from the Nebraska State Patrol at the scene.
Blick and Walling were pronounced dead at the scene. Hansen died at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha.
Burnside is recovering from his extremely critical injuries.
Glass said he was unsure of the speeds involved, but witnesses said the Mustang and Camaro were going “very fast.” None of the Mustang’s occupants was using a seat belt.
Reckless driving carries possible penalties of up to 90 days in jail, the loss of a driver’s license for a year and a $500 fine.
If found guilty of drag racing, Amundson could also be sentenced to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
An earlier version of this story referred to the Ford Mustang as a 1996 model.