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Two Harbors student dies in rollover crash

Two Harbors High School students and faculty were saddened to learn one of the school's newest students was killed in a rollover crash Saturday near Cloquet.

The Minnesota State Patrol reported Heather Rose Doucette was a passenger in a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer traveling north on I-35 Saturday and roads were icy following a couple inches of snowfall earlier in the day. Amanda Beth Valerius, Heather's mother, was driving near Highway 210 and lost control of the vehicle, causing it to veer into the median and roll several times.

Heather, 15 and her sister, Hannah Ruby Valerius, 12, were thrown from the vehicle. Heather died as a result of her injuries. Hannah sustained several life-threatening injuries, but as of Monday morning was expected to make a full recovery.

A GoFundMe campaign has been started to help the Valerius family with funeral and medical expenses. According to the page, the Valerius family recently moved to Two Harbors after Jeremy Valerius, the girls' father, had taken a new job.

Amanda and her daughters returned to their old home for some last-minute cleaning and were on their way back to Two Harbors Saturday evening. The car lost control after rounding a curve, ejecting Heather and Hannah from the vehicle.

Amanda was able to exit the vehicle and make her way first to Heather, who was on her knees and told Amanda to go check on her sister. After reaching Hannah, Amanda went to the highway to try to flag down another vehicle. When she returned to her elder daughter's side, she was laying on the ground with her eyes closed. Authorities later informed her that her daughter had died.

Two Harbors Principal Jay Belcastro said he learned of the accident when he arrived at school Monday and informed the faculty before school started. Heather and Hannah had only started attending classes at Two Harbors last week, but they had already begun forming relationships with other students.

"Anyone that's a parent recognizes this is one of the worst things possible," Belcastro said. "We have students, even though (Heather) was here a short amount of time, who are grieving."

A statement was read to students early in the day to inform them of Heather's death and said counselors were on hand to talk with students or faculty trying to process their grief.

Belcastro also said Daniel Bittman, superintendent of the Zimmerman school district, where the girls most recently attended school, reached out early Monday to offer his condolences to teachers and students at Two Harbors.

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Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has been a reporter for the Pine Journal since October 2018. He previously worked as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle from 2015-2018. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. 

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