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Teen dies after icy accident

Photo contributed by Gloria Kingbird 1 / 2
Friends and Carlton classmates of Nathan Gould decorated his locker Monday with Post-It messages to the teen, who died from injuries sustained in an car accident Friday during the first winter storm of the season. Photo contributed by Melany Asleson 2 / 2

The season’s first snow Friday landed on Northland roads already slick with freezing rain, and caused the tragic death of Holyoke teenager Nathan Gould.

Gould, 16, was eastbound on a curve of County Road 1 near Leimer Road when he lost control of his car on the icy roadway and collided with a westbound vehicle driven by 29-year-old Julie Jacobson of Moose Lake, who had two children ages 3 and 5 in the car with her.

Jacobson received minor injuries and the children were fine, but Gould was badly injured.

The call came in at 12:15 p.m. Friday. Carlton County Ambulance was the first responder to the scene, then called for an intercept from Cloquet Area Fire District personnel because they have advanced life support capabilities. CAFD Battalion Chief Steve Kolodge said CAFD transported Gould to St. Mary’s Essentia Hospital in Duluth, where he later died from his injuries. According to the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office, proper seat belt and child restraint systems were in place and utilized in both vehicles.

Gould attended school in Wrenshall from kindergarten through 10th grade and had enrolled in Carlton this school year. He also worked at Wendy’s in Cloquet, and had friends from around Carlton County. Many of them posted remembrances of Gould on social media over the weekend and cautioned others to drive safely.

Wrenshall Superintendent Kimberly Belcastro called Gould “a great kid” and well liked by both students and staff, noting that he was was scheduled to pick up three of his friends from Wrenshall after school closed early because of the snowstorm.

Gould never made it. Friends, family, teachers and other communities are mourning a life ended far too soon.

It is a very difficult time for the Wrenshall and Carlton communities,” Belcastro said in an email to the Pine Journal Monday. “It was a very tough day at school today. Counselors and pastors were on site throughout the day.”

Paul DeVall, also a pastor for Sonlife Community Church in Wrenshall, coached Gould in baseball last school year at Wrenshall. On Monday, he called Gould a “protector” and a “great teammate.”

“He cared about others. He would stand for the kids that others wouldn’t stand with,” said DeVall.
There was a community gathering at the Wrenshall School commons from 3:30-5 p.m. Monday. Belcastro said Gould’s family attended and his mother spoke to the large group of students from both Wrenshall and Carlton who attended.

“The kids are hurting but they’ve come together in supporting one another and encouraging each other,” DeVall said.

A Celebration of Life service for Nathan Gould is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Encounter in Duluth. A fundraiser to help Nathan Gould's family with funeral expenses can be found online at



The collision involving Nathan Gould was far from the only accident Friday, although it was the only one resulting in a fatality.

Cloquet Area Fire District responded to six accidents in less than 10 minutes in a 1.5-mile stretch of Interstate-35 after the rains changed to snow late Friday morning.

"Road conditions are changing rapidly," CAFD warned on its Facebook page at 11:30 a.m.

An accident just after 10 a.m. Friday on I-35 near Moose Lake (milepost 216) was also caused by icy conditions.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol incident report, a Toyota Camry driven by Duluth’s Melinda Cooper, 43, of Duluth was traveling southbound on I-35 when it crossed to the northbound lanes and struck head-on a Nissan van driven by Craig Deforge, 55, of Coon Rapids. Cooper and her passenger, David Markusen, 52, also of Duluth, both had serious injuries from the accident. Deforge had no apparent injuries.

Sgt. Neil Dickenson, public information officer for the Northeast Region of the Minnesota State Patrol, reported 36 crashes in Duluth plus 52 vehicle spinouts or vehicles off the road from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday. Only one of those accidents was serious and there were no fatalities.