Sixteen teenagers are facing court action in connection with a nighttime homecoming prank at Farmington High School that went awry last fall.
The prank involved high school seniors “kidnapping” four juniors as part of a “war” on the younger class the night of Sept. 27. Two of the juniors had their hands tied behind their backs and were forced into a car trunk. Two others were put in the back seat. The car was taken on a joy ride, with students in other vehicles tagging along. The car with the abducted juniors was involved in a fender bender in front of the high school after midnight Sept. 28.
A 17-year-old girl who was driving the car was charged in juvenile court with criminal vehicular operation, a gross misdemeanor, and fifth-degree assault, a misdemeanor. Twelve other 17-year-olds — 10 girls and two boys — as well as a 16-year-old boy and two 18-year-old men are being offered diversion in lieu of a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge. They must complete an accountability program or the charge will be filed.
According to a release from the Dakota County attorney’s office, a Farmington police officer interviewed 23 students about the prank. The students said that six juniors drove to the 17-year-old girl’s house to “kidnap” her. When they pulled up to the house, they were surrounded by seniors who kidnapped them instead.
Several seniors and juniors described the 17-year-old girl as driving at a high rate of speed, taking corners too fast and behaving recklessly and crazy, the news release said.
County Attorney James Backstrom said the case “appears to be a type of hazing incident associated with homecoming activities. These types of activities are clearly inappropriate, dangerous and need to be appropriately addressed.”
Farmington Police Chief Brian Lindquist added, “By holding those involved accountable … we hope to deter this type of conduct from occurring again in the future.”