A 16-year-old boy from Inver Grove Heights was killed early Sunday morning when the car he was driving went off the road and crashed into a power pole.
Eagan police responded to a report of a car that had gone off the road around 12:22 a.m. in the 900 block of Cliff Road, just west of Dodd Road. Upon arrival, police found the driver had been thrown from the vehicle and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The impact of the crash downed power lines and caused an outage affecting roughly 600 homes in the area. A portion of Cliff Road was also closed Sunday morning. Power has since been restored and the road is now open.
By Sunday afternoon, Fox 9 News confirmed the victim was Max Lowell, a junior at Cretin-Derham Hall High School who played football and had been active on recruiting sites.
"I stand at 6 foot 3 inches weighting 250 pounds. I'm constantly in the weight room setting new goals," he wrote.
Many of Lowell's friends who spoke with Fox 9 described him as "huge" for his age, but they say he had an even bigger heart.
"He just dropped me off, said, 'I'll see you Monday. We're going to work out, get big for next year,'" Jake Lacina recalled.
Just moments after his friend drove away, Lowell crashed just a few miles from his home. At this time, investigators aren't sure why.
"I just couldn't believe it," Lacina said. "He's such a great guy. For him to go like that, it made me so sad."
The community that Lowell found at Cretin-Durham Hall is now in mourning as they remember a well-loved athlete who had only recently returned from a mission trip to Costa Rica through River Valley Church in Apple Valley.
"He just loved getting to know the kids down there and just telling them about Jesus," Alex Berterr said. "He just had a true passion for God."
In fact, even though he was looking into a future in football, friends say Lowell's ultimate goal was to enter the ministry.
"He told us he had a calling to become a pastor, to minister to people," Zack Perske said. "I thought that was super cool."
His friends and family gathered at River Valley Church on Sunday, along with the entire football team, to remember Lowell.
"You would just see him and he would love people," Kevin Clark said. "Didn't matter how you looked or your status; he would want to be your friend."
Many who came to honor Lowell's memory described him as a resilient and forward-thinking young man.
"He would do something wrong or it wouldn't go the way he wanted it to, and he would just hop back up, dust himself off and say, 'Next play.' That carried over into his life," Pete Johnson recalled. "He always looked forward to the future and didn't let things in the past hold him."
Yet, when Youth Pastor Aaron Topp spoke outside Lowell's home on Sunday afternoon, the story he shared may have summed up Lowell's character best.
"He literally had moments where he risked his reputation to be friends with people who other people wouldn't be friends with," he said.
The Eagan Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol, and Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office are still investigating the crash. It is still unknown whether Lowell was wearing a seat belt at the time.