The DNR conservation officer killed in a crash Monday morning has been identified as 39-year-old Sarah Grell.
Grell, who leaves behind a husband and three children, was traveling in a Chevy Silverado northbound on County Road 336 when her vehicle and a semi collided at the intersection of County Road 57 in Lawrence Township around 8:30 a.m., according to a crash report from the State Patrol.
Grell's vehicle was struck by the semi on the driver-side door, causing fatal injuries.
Grell had been a conservation officer since 2005, following in her family's footsteps as her uncle, father and grandfather all worked as conservation officers, while her husband works for the DNR's Forestry Division and her mother was a employed by DNR Fisheries.
“The sense of loss we feel right now is indescribable,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said in a statement. “We are heartbroken for her family. Our deepest sympathies and concerns are with them. Officer Grell leaves behind an incredible legacy of service to Minnesota’s people and natural resources.”
Grell lived in Cohasset and worked in the Grand Rapids area.
Gov. Tim Walz issued a statement after learning of Grell's death.
“Gwen and I extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Officer Sarah Grell, especially her husband, DNR Forester Gene Grell, and their children. Officer Grell came from a long line of DNR Conservation Officers, including her father, uncle, and grandfather. In keeping with the family tradition, Officer Grell was committed to protecting both our state’s natural resources as well as those who enjoy them. We are grateful for her service and the service of all our Conservation Officers who make our state a great place to live. My ask of Minnesotans is that the next time you meet a Conservation Officer as you enjoy Minnesota’s public lands and waters, remember Officer Grell and thank that officer for their work.”
The DNR has seen 23 conservation officers die in the line of duty since 1887.
The crash is being investigated by the Minnesota State Patrol.