Bayside Middle School student killed in car crash in Minnesota

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Philip Gutter, 11, of Milwaukee, was killed in a car crash July 25 in Minnesota. His mom and grandfather also died in the crash. (Photo: Submitted)

A Bayside Middle School student known for his dream to be the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and his kind-hearted personality was killed, along with his mother and grandfather, in a car crash July 25 in Minnesota.

According to a report from WDIO-DT, an ABC-affiliated station in Duluth, Minnesota, Philip Gutter, 11, along with his mother, Megan Haak, 44, of Milwaukee, and grandfather, Mark Haak, 79, of Fond du Lac, were killed when their vehicle struck a tree after it drove off a county road in the Togo, Minnesota, area while attempting to make a sharp curve. 

Mark Haak, who was driving, died at the scene. Philip did as well. Megan Haak later died of injuries sustained in the crash. Philip’s brother, Evan Harrison Gutter, 12, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to a report from the Mesabi Tribune.

Family remembered

Megan Haak (Photo: Submitted)

Philip was a soon-to-be sixth-grader at Bayside Middle School and was an exceptional student who excelled in all classes, but had a special passion for math and reading, his obituary said.

Philip also liked playing basketball, creating YouTube videos with Evan, and his best friend, Quentin, and with his brothers and father, playing video games and spending time with his family’s dogs. He also was known to be kind at heart, funny and steadfast with a competitive spirit.

Philip and his mom were remembered in a service Aug. 4 at Schmidt & Bartelt Funeral Home in Mequon.

Megan Haak was a program manager at the Medical College of Wisconsin. The two most important things in her life were her sons, Evan and Philip, according to her obituary.

“She loved people and was a vivacious extrovert,” her obituary said. “Megan was gracious and generous, a phenomenal story teller, and was adored by her nieces and nephews. She treasured all animals, especially her dogs.”

Mark Haak (Photo: Submitted)

Mark Haak is remembered for his smile, laughter and stories, according to his obituary.

“He was truly one of a kind and will be sadly missed,” his obituary said.

Balloon release ceremony

A balloon release ceremony with Philip’s immediate family will be held Aug. 6, a letter from Bayside Middle School principal Jodi Hackl to parents said. Families are invited to write messages and memories on biodegradable balloons for the family to release between 3 and 5 p.m.

A memory banner will be available to sign, at which point people are allowed to exit their vehicles while honoring social distancing guidelines.

Hackl said the balloon release will be recorded for the school community. She also said a card box will be available at Bayside Middle School until 5 p.m. Aug. 6 for those unable to attend. Cards can also be mailed to Bayside Middle School, 601 Ellsworth Lane, Bayside, WI 53217, and they will be gathered for the family.

Bayside Middle School will also host a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 12 for parents to help them assist their children in the aftermath of the death of a peer. The event, a partnership between Children’s Wisconsin and Kyle’s Korner, a Milwaukee-based organization, will be offered face-to-face at the middle school and on Zoom. 

Contact Alec Johnson at (262) 875-9469 or alec.johnson@jrn.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlecJohnson12.

Our subscribers make this reporting possible. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Journal Sentinel at jsonline.com/deal.

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