With that phone call from one of his deputies, Dodge County Sheriff Scott Rose found out that Logan Maas, son of the county's Emergency Management Director Matt Maas, had been killed in a car crash.
It was only days before Christmas 2015 and Logan was an 18-year-old senior at Triton High School and a member of the Dodge Center Fire Department.
The effect of the crash and Logan's death has had a lasting impact on the Maas family, the Sheriff's Office, Triton High School and throughout the community.
Rose and Maas told their stories last week to law enforcement officers, emergency medical personnel, highway engineers and others at the Southeast Minnesota Towards Zero Death regional workshop in Rochester. TZD is a state-wide initiative in Minnesota to reduce traffic fatalities.
The details of the crash are well-known. Maas and two other Triton students were in a vehicle driven by another student. They had been driving on a rural Dodge County road at a high rate of speed when the vehicle rolled. At some point, Rose explained, Maas, and the other passengers had decided not to wear their seatbelts. Logan was thrown from the vehicle when it rolled and he died at the scene. The other students survived.
Neither Rose or Maas dwelled on the details of the accident last week, but rather the effects that are still being felt.
For Rose, it was knowing that he would have to tell his friend and co-worker and his family, that their son and brother was dead. It was knowing that not only the deputies and first responders at the scene knew Logan but so did everyone else in the office.
The Dodge County Sheriff's Office is a close-knit group, Rose explained. There is little turnover, he said, and the families know each other and are friends.
In any situation such as this, he said, there are many things that need to be done and they were all going through his head. The family must be notified, calls from the media, debriefing of those responding, are all part of an incident such as this and in these cases Maas "was my go-to guy."
Rose said his first concern was that he be the one to tell the family the news.
"I wanted to notify him personally, before he saw something on social media," Rose said. "My biggest fear was that he would see something on Facebook, or his family would see something on Facebook."
He called Maas on his cell phone and found that he and his wife, Julie, and daughter, Mariah, were at the mall in Rochester where they had been shopping. They were getting ready to leave to help sort Toys for Tots in Rochester. The younger son, Dylan, was playing basketball at Pine Island.
Rose said he told Maas to stay at the mall as he had to talk to him. It was there, in the parking lot at Apache Mall, Rose said, that he delivered the news. That, he said, was one of the hardest things he ever had to do as sheriff.
The next concern, he said, was to tell Dylan, again, before he heard it on social media or from someone else.
Read the rest of the story in the print edition of the Star Herald.