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A vigil for Stacy, Zachary and Taylor

Two people embrace shortly after a vigil in Bay Point Park on July 20 for Stacy Lande, Zachary Johnson, and Taylor Johnson. Matthew Lambert / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
Around 70 people came for the vigil for Stacy Lande, Zachary Johnson, and Taylor Johnson at Bay Point Park on July 20. The organizers of the event, Bethany Olson and Nichole Wagner, weren't sure what to expect as far as a turnout of people. Pictured her are people coming to get glow sticks to hold up during the vigil. Matthew Lambert / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 3
Two people offer their hands up in prayer during the playing of "Amazing Grace." Matthew Lambert / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

After the death of two brothers and their grandmother in a two-vehicle accident, a vigil was held in their honor July 20 at Bay Point Park.

On July 14, Robert Welch, 50, of Hager City, Stacy Lande, 47, of Hager City, and Zachary R. Johnson, 8, and Taylor S. Johnson, 5, of Red Wing, were traveling northbound on County Road 18 in Welch Township. Welch, the operator of the vehicle, crossed over the centerline on a curve.

A vehicle coming from the opposite direction swerved to avoid the vehicle, but was unable, and struck the passenger side of the vehicle.

Lande, Zachary Johnson, and Taylor Johnson were pronounced dead upon arrival. Welch was transported by Mayo One to Rochester with serious injuries and the driver of the other vehicle was transported to the Mayo Health Clinic System in Red Wing with minor injuries.

Lande was the grandmother of the Johnson brothers, with Welch being their step-grandfather.

Bethany Olson and Nichole Wagner helped organize the vigil. Both Olson Wagner didn't know the family personally, but felt compelled to help with the family.

Two years ago, the Johnson brothers' mother, Marya Christiansen, died in a car crash in 2016. The 23-year-old was northbound on Highway 63 from Red Wing to Hager City when she drove off the road and into the icy Mississippi River after a night out with friends. Initially treated as a disappearance, the case ended when authorities brought in a diver team who found her and her van. Dozens of people aided in the search.

The vigil had around 70 people present. It started with a speech by Olson, followed by music and a moment of silence to remember the Johnson brothers and Lande. The group wanted to have a paper lantern lighting, but instead had glow sticks available for attendees

A fundraiser to help pay for the funeral costs has been established here:

Matthew Lambert

Matthew Lambert joined the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2018 covering school board, public safety, and writing features. Lambert previously wrote for the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal. He is a graduate of Winona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication: Journalism. 

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