A 15-year-old Fairfield High School sophomore, Lauryn Goldhahn, died Aug. 27, 2016, at Harbor View Hospital in Seattle from injuries sustained on Aug. 25 in a single-vehicle rollover on First Road Northwest just outside of Fairfield, according to the Montana Highway Patrol and Fairfield Public Schools.
The driver of the vehicle, Naemi Wipf, was treated and released from Benefis Medical Center in Great Falls the evening of the accident, and Goldhahn, the only other person in the vehicle, was first treated at Benefis and then airlifted to Harbor View Hospital.
Montana Highway Patrolman Jim Humiston said Wipf lost control of her full-size pickup truck at about 8:15 p.m. while driving on the gravel road and the vehicle rolled several times, coming to rest on its roof. Neither of the girls was wearing a seatbelt and speed may have been a factor, according to Humiston. The vehicle struck a power pole that landed on the vehicle. A line crew from Sun River Electric Cooperative responded to the accident and isolated the power running to the area before emergency medical personnel could attend to the accident victims.
Wipf had to be extricated from the truck and was transported by the Fairfield ambulance to Benefis in Great Falls. She was treated for a broken leg and released that night. She will undergo surgery on her broken leg this week.
Goldhahn was ejected from the truck during the crash, Humiston said. She suffered internal injuries, a pelvic fracture and severe head trauma. Goldhahn was flown by Mercy Flight to Benefis and then taken to the Harbor View Hospital a couple hours after arriving in Great Falls. She underwent surgery sometime during the night.
The two sophomores had attended a pasta dinner for the Fairfield High School volleyball team shortly before the accident. The FHS volleyball team withdrew from the pre-season tournament at Choteau High School in the wake of the accident.
Responding to the accident in addition to the MHP were Teton County deputies, the Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department and the Fairfield and Choteau ambulances.
Gatherings in Fairfield were held on Aug. 26 by students and community members to pray for the two students. A similar gathering was reportedly held in Chester, where Lauryn lived before moving to Fairfield this summer with her parents, Pat and Wendi Goldhahn. Lauryn’s older sister, Allix, will be a senior at FHS this fall.
Throughout the weekend, with permission from the families, Fairfield Public Schools posted updates on the district’s Facebook page on the condition of the two students.
“It is with a heavy heart that we let you all know that Lauryn’s brain injury is so severe, that although she fought an epic battle, she is not going to survive,” the Aug. 27, post from her parents said. “While her body is still with us, it is likely that the Lauryn we all know and love left us at the scene of the accident. However, because she was the kind of young lady who always thought of helping others, the family has decided to give her the opportunity to save multiple lives by donating her organs. Thankfully, her kindness, love and giving spirit will live on in others.”
Due to the overwhelming outpouring from the community and others throughout the state, the school district has organized accounts where monetary donations can be made to the families involved in the accident.
Donations can be sent to Teton Banks-Fairfield, P.O. Box 9, Fairfield, MT 59436; Teton Banks-Choteau, P.O. Box 858, Choteau, MT 59422; Teton Banks-Vaughn, P.O. Box 39, Vaughn, MT 59487; or Fairfield Public Schools, in care of Fran Freeman, P.O. Box 399, Fairfield, MT 59436.
Those wishing to donate should indicate which family they wish their donation to be given too.
Funeral arrangements for Lauryn are pending.