For the Second Time in a Week, SLP HS Mourns
Senior Andrew Dudley and assistant girls basketball coach Joel Koch both passed away recently.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story cited an incorrect age for the victim based on a Minnetonka Police Department news release. The city now says he was 18.
It's been a tough, solemn week for everyone at St. Louis Park High School.
Andrew Dudley, an 18-year-old senior, died Wednesday night after he was struck by a car while biking out of a church parking lot in Minnetonka. Last Tuesday, assistant girls basketball coach Joel Koch died suddenly due to a heart attack. His funeral was on Friday.
Principal Rob Metz said both incidents have been felt in the high school's hallways.
"I think it’s a little solemn. I notice it in students more. Combining the two events (is tough)," he said. "At Joel’s funeral last week, there were hundreds of Park students there. That really took a toll on them. And Andrew being a senior, there are connections to (a lot of students).”
Metz said grief counselors are being made available Wednesday to students and staff who need them. Teachers notified their classes of Dudley's death this morning, he added.
A group grief counseling session will likely be set up tomorrow afternoon at 1:30, Metz said. Similar to a session held last week after Koch's passing, this session would be open to students, staff and community members. A special grief counselor would be on hand.
Metz said Dudley was the type of student who'd wave and say "hi" in the hallway.
“Mellow was the word his counselors and teachers and friends are describing him as," Metz said. "Mellow, easy-going, cheerful, happy-go-lucky.”
A community event in Dudley's honor is planned for tonight, from 5-8 p.m., at Cross of Glory Church. Youth pastor Justin Jeppesen reports the following:
Last night, April 25th, longtime youth attender Andrew Dudley was leaving youth group on his bike and was struck by a car outside the church parking lot. He passed away shortly afterward. He was a month away from high school graduation.
My heart is broken and I am at a loss of words. I remain in shock over this horrible accident that took the life of our beloved friend and brother, Andrew Dudley. As we deeply grieve this tragic loss we are calling our church family to respond in prayer, care, and support for the Dudley family and for each other. The church doors are open today for anyone who would like to come and pray. Additionally, we will be holding an open time of prayer and support tonight, April 26th from 5-8 pm in the sanctuary. Anyone from our church family and surrounding community is welcome to come for any length of time between these hours, but we will hold a corporate time of prayer and support at 6:30 pm.
Please continue to pray for the parents John and Amy and the Dudley family.