THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn.-Family and friends in the Thief River Falls area in far northwest Minnesota are mourning a mother and her two children after they died in a tragic crash.

Cassandra Flatland, 28, of nearby Viking and her two sons, 4-year-old Hudson Jones and 1-year-old Cooper Jones, died Wednesday afternoon when the vehicle they were in collided with a pickup north of Thief River Falls. The crash remains under investigation by the Marshall County Sheriff's Office.

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According to a Friday news release from Sheriff Jason Boman, Flatland was southbound at an intersection when she failed to yield.

Flatland's vehicle was struck by the pickup, which was eastbound.

The 16-year-old driver of the pickup was not injured, but Flatland and her two sons were ejected from their vehicle and were killed, the release said.

Deputies believe Flatland was wearing her seat belt and her two sons were in car seats. It's possible the impact of the crash was so strong the seat belts broke, deputies said.

The release did not name the teenage driver.

Westside Motors in Thief River Falls, where Flatland's father works, has set up a memorial fund to help cover funeral costs. A GoFundMe page also has been created.

Flatland grew up in the Thief River Falls area, close family friend and Thief River Falls resident Michael Hron said. The mother had an infectious, positive attitude, and one friend said she made the most of whatever "cards she was dealt in any given day."

"She was always very positive," Hron said. "She just made people feel better around her because of that."

The family is doing as well as can be expected, Hron said as he spoke on their behalf. The community has been very supportive

"When you lose a young mother and her two sons in an instant, it's heart-wrenching, and I think a bit unbelievable still at this point," he said. "They have been very grateful for the love and support that has been provided by not just the community of Thief River Falls but other communities."

Hron said everyone needs to remember the teenager involved in the crash and keep him in their prayers.

To donate to the GoFundMe page, go to Donations also can be mailed to Northern State Bank at P.O. Box 639, Thief River Falls, MN 56701 with the subject line "Cassandra Flatland Benefit."