Crash into river kills St. John's grad who helped ailing children in Costa Rica

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 26, 2013 - 7:53 AM

A car went off a bridge and into the Sauk River late at night near St. Cloud, fatally trapping a 23-year-old man who prepared for a medical career by helping ailing children in Central America.

 

A car went off a bridge and into the Sauk River late at night near St. Cloud, fatally trapping a 23-year-old man who prepared for a medical career by helping ailing children in Central America, authorities and family said.

Killed shortly after 1:20 a.m. Sunday was Jeffrey D. Sass, of Clear Lake, Minn., according to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office.

Sass, who graduated from Becker High School in 2008 and St. John’s University in 2012, studied in Guatemala for six months and spent the past year volunteering in Costa Rica with terminally ill children in preparation for medical school, according to his family.

“Through the volunteer work and responsibility, I hope to ... find a community through faith that can help others see life through a better perspective,” Sass was quoted as saying on the website of his faith-based sponsoring organization, FrancisCorps.

According to the Sheriff’s Office:

Sass was heading east on County Road 75 in Waite Park, when he struck a bridge guardrail and plunged into the river.

The car came to rest on the driver’s side, forcing law-enforcement personnel to roll the vehicle onto its wheels before they could get to Sass.

Despite efforts to revive him, Sass was pronounced dead at the scene.

There is no immediate word on why Sass’ car left the bridge.

 

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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