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'Why such a good kid?': SD teen dies after farm accident

Taylor Wetzel

WINNER, S.D. — A Winner High School student injured in a farming accident died Wednesday night, a day after getting stuck in a grain bin.

Taylor Watzel, 16, of Winner, died at about 7 p.m. Wednesday, according to Winner Superintendent Bruce Carrier.

Carrier said students gathered in the school's gymnasium Wednesday and Thursday morning to talk about the situation, and Principal Gerald Witte said students and faculty are struggling with the loss.

"Why Taylor? Why such a good kid? And honestly, a lot of my staff members are struggling with that same thing," Witte said. "Today's the day where there's probably a lot more life lessons than academic lessons."

Witte said Watzel was "trapped in a bin for a period of time" on Tuesday. Carrier said Watzel was transferred to a Sioux Falls hospital.

Watzel, a junior, was a lineman for the Winner football team who mostly played on special teams, Witte said. He was also a "pretty decent wrestler," an active member of FFA, was named to the school's merit roll for academics and maintained perfect attendance.

"The Watzel family does not miss school," Witte said.

Watzel's sister, Madaline, is a seventh-grader at the town's middle school, and his brother, Tristan, is a high school senior who, according to Witte, was injured in a tractor-related accident when he was very young, leaving him with limited use of one of his arms.

"Taylor was like his guardian angel that was with him all the time," Witte said.

Witte said the school still plans to host a football game against Jones County/White River on Friday, in which the team will hope to continue its undefeated season. A moment of silence will be held for Taylor and the Watzel family.

Funeral arrangements have not been decided, but Witte expects the funeral to take place at the Winner gymnasium.

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