VERNDALE -- An attempt to stage a hit-and-run accident on videotape resulted in the death of a 16-year-old Verndale boy Sunday.
Christopher Allen Moske was killed about 3:23 a.m. after a car accidentally backed over him in the parking lot of the 24-hour Holiday Station Store in Wadena.
Wadena Police Sgt. Bruce Uselman said Moske and two friends were trying to videotape a stunt in which Moske posed as the victim of a hit-and-run accident. The teen-agers didn't have permission from the Holiday Station Store to perform the stunt in the parking lot, a police news release said.
They acted out the scenario, Uselman said, with one friend driving the car and the other videotaping it while Moske played the role of a hit-and-run victim. Moske then lay in the parking lot as his friend drove away.
Classmates wrote messages on Christopher Moske's locker at Verndale High School expressing their feelings about his death early Sunday morning.
A customer leaving Holiday, who was unaware that the 16-year-old was lying on the pavement, backed over Moske.
The Wadena Fire Department and the Tri-County Ambulance extricated Moske from underneath the car and transported him to Tri-County Hospital in Wadena, where he was pronounced dead.
"This was kind of an oddity in the fact that they had planned to stage this and capture it on film," said Uselman. "The other individual (who ran over Moske) had no indication of what was going on and accidentally backed over the kid."
Comparisons to reality television shows like MTV's "Jackass" have been made, said Uselman, but based on interviews with Moske's friends, the videotape was meant just for their viewing, and included several different filmed scenes, such as the teenagers wrestling.
At Verndale High School, where Moske was a student, a crisis intervention team, including counselors, social workers and pastors from Verndale and Wadena, was established to help grieving students.
Moske's friends made a memorial out of his locker using various yearbook photos.
Dean Krogstad, Verndale principal, described Moske as an outgoing, fun-loving kid. He liked to skateboard, was in the band and choir at Verndale High School and worked part time at Subway in Wadena.
"He was a good student, a fun kid to be around," said Krogstad. "He will be sorely missed by the students and the faculty."
The way in which Moske died is still a surprise to Krogstad, who said staff members have been asking him about the videotaping aspect of the death. "I've never heard of anything like that before," he said.
Uselman, however, sees a link between what Moske and his friends were doing and television.
"In a lot of these cases they see it on TV, and of course they try it," said Uselman. "In reality there's a lot of dangers involved here. It's not what they're taking into consideration, that this could happen and that's what happened here."
Uselman said there are no charges being filed against the driver of the vehicle that ran over Moske, though the incident is under investigation. An autopsy has been scheduled to determine the cause of death.
Uselman said the investigation, at this time, doesn't suggest any intent by the driver to hit Moske.
Krogstad said the students have been handling the tragedy as well as can be expected, and many, along with several staff members, will attend Moske's funeral Thursday at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Wadena.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.