Girl struck, killed while walking to football game

A walk to a Friday night football game turned tragic when a 14-year-old girl was struck by a car and killed Friday in Onamia Township.

Katelin Sawyer died at the Mille Lacs Health System Hospital in Onamia Friday, Sept. 7 from injuries sustained in the accident, according to Mille Lacs County Sheriff Brent Lindgren.

Sawyer, who attends Onamia School, was walking to the football game with friends when the accident occurred at about 7:15 p.m. on 350th Street, located between Highway 169 and 125th Avenue. The girl was struck from behind by a westbound vehicle driven by Michael Kunesh, 37, of rural Onamia, Lindgren said. Kunesh was the only person in the vehicle and stopped and notified authorities after the crash, he said.

Moments after the crash an off-duty Mille Lacs County deputy and a Mille Lacs Health System EMT driving on the same road and going to the football game stopped and administered first aid at the scene.Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Deputies as well as the Onamia Fire Department, Mille Lacs Ambulance Service, Minnesota State Patrol and the Mille Lacs Tribal Police Department responded to the scene.

Sawyer was transported by ambulance to the Mille Lacs Hospital in Onamia where she died. The accident is still under investigation by the Mille County Sheriff’s Department.

Lindgren said alcohol does not appear to have been a factor in the accident.

Sawyer is survived by her parents, Kris and Gary Sawyer; sister Kaycee and brother Jamie, all of Onamia.