ALEXANDRIA, Minn. -- In the space of a few seconds, a fun Tuesday night for the Lambertson family turned tragic.
Their son, Nick, was excited about having a sleepover with two of his friends, Blake Nohre and Jayden Tatro, at the Lambertson house in Carlos, Minn., on July 14.
The three boys, all 14, wanted to take a quick 3-mile bike ride to Carlos and back and asked Nick’s father, Jeff Lambertson, if it would be OK.
Lambertson said he told the boys to be careful and watch for cars because County Road 9 is narrow with no shoulders. He also told them to be back before it was dark.
Around dusk, when the boys hadn’t returned yet, Lambertson said he told his wife, Christine, that he was going to drive and look for the boys and tell them “to get their butts home.”
Minutes later, Lambertson saw two Douglas County Sheriff’s Office patrol cars whiz by him, their lights and sirens going.
“I was one of the first ones there,” Lambertson said. “I saw Jayden and I asked him where Nick and Blake were. He told me they were in the ditch. I looked and saw a deputy putting a tourniquet on my son’s leg. He shouted, ‘Dad!’ and I said, ‘Oh my God.’”
As Lambertson went over to help Nick, he saw another deputy put a blanket over Blake’s body.
The funeral for Blake Nohre will be Monday, July 20, at the Church of St. Mary in Alexandria.
“Never in a million years did I think I’d be part of something as terrible as this,” Lambertson said.
Lambertson said the boys had reflectors on their bikes. Jayden, who was at the back of the pack, told Lambertson that a driver swerved past him, just missing him, before colliding with the other two boys.
Two days later, Lambertson was waiting in the intensive care unit of the Hennepin County Medical Center where Nick was in a medically induced coma and on ventilation while trying to recover from severe injuries. His legs were seriously injured, Lambertson said.
“I don’t know if he’ll be able to walk or not,” Lambertson said. “He just lost his best friend and now he’s battling surgery. I can’t even imagine what the Nohre family is going through.”
While coping with the medical aftermath of the crash, the Lambertsons are also dealing with the financial fallout.
The family faces medical bills that are steadily rising. Lambertson just started a new job as a mechanic for Country Cat in Sauk Centre, and doesn’t have health insurance, and Christine is self-employed in real estate. To be with his son during his recovery, Jeff hasn’t been working, so there’s no steady paycheck coming in.
“We went from normal to financially ruined,” Lambertson said. “It’s put a whole new spin on our life.”
Nick’s older brother, Zack, started a GoFundMe page and, as of Friday afternoon, July 17, more than $10,000 had been raised. On the page, Zack talked about his brother. “He’s a very happy kid. He enjoys riding snowmobile out west and riding dirt bike with his family.”
There also is an account set up for Nicholas Lambertson through U.S. Bank that allows anyone to contribute through any U.S. Bank location. Lambertson also started a GoFundMe page to help pay for his son’s medical expenses.
A fundraising campaign for the Nohre family is set up at www.gofundme.com/f/nohre-family-fund.
Lambertson said he wanted to share his story so people could help out and send “lots of prayers.”