Tributes flood in for Twin Cities EMT killed in crash

Marina DeSteno Challeen died when the ambulance she was in collided with a semi-trailer.

The family, friends and co-workers of an EMT killed in an ambulance crash this week have paid tribute to a "special soul."

Marine DeSteno Challeen was in a Healtheast ambulance returning from Monticello when it crashed into a broken down semi-trailer as it merged from eastbound I-694 to I-94 in Brooklyn Center on Monday evening.

The 24-year-old, who grew up in Stillwater but was living in St. Paul, was killed in the crash.

Her death has devastated her family and the Twin Cities healthcare community, with her fellow EMTs in Minneapolis holding a guard of honor in the wake of the accident.

Her aunt, Nancy DeSteno, told KSTP that the EMT went to Stillwater High School and graduated from the U of M where she studied anthropology.

Her ultimate goal was to go to medical school and work for Doctors Without Borders.

"She was kind of a tough kid. She was independent and do things her own way," DeSteno told KARE 11. "She worked hard at reaching out to people. If she realized someone was upset. She would come up to you and put her arm around you and be close. You know? She was very good at that."

Others who knew her and members of the emergency service community have taken to social media to pay tribute.

"I'm at a loss for words today. Always tell those you care about how much they matter and keep them close," Allie Mike wrote on Facebook. "Marina Challeen never failed to make me laugh and was an incredibly kind, warm person. The world has lost a very special soul."

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