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Hero Down: Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer Sarah Grell Killed In Crash

Lawrence Township, MN – Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Conservation Officer Sarah Grell died in the line of duty following a two-vehicle collision on Monday.

The 39-year-old officer was traveling through the intersection of County Road 336 and County Road 57 in Itasca County at approximately 8:30 a.m. when a tractor-trailer slammed into the passenger side of her vehicle, according to the Star Tribune.

The driver of the semi-truck, 42-year-old Milo Polovina, suffered minor injuries in the collision.

The Minnesota State Patrol’s investigation into the deadly crash remains ongoing, KNSI reported.

The DNR released a statement confirming the veteran officer’s death later the same day.

“The sense of loss we feel right now is indescribable,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said in the 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.”

DNR Enforcement Division Director Colonel Rodmen Smith said Officer Grell “was the epitome of a public servant” who “served the Enforcement Division, the DNR, and the people of Minnesota with distinction.”

Officer Grell joined the DNR in 2005, and was deeply dedicated to serving the citizens and the natural resources of Minnesota, according to the agency.

“She was part of a proud family legacy – her uncle, father and grandfather also worked as conservation officers,” the DNR noted. “Her husband Gene works for DNR’s Forestry Division and her mother worked for DNR Fisheries until her retirement.”

Officer Grell also leaves behind her children, 13-year-old William, four-year-old Jordyn, and two-year-old Geno.

A fundraising campaign established to help her family in the wake of their loss has raised over $55,000 so far.

“Her loss is devastating, and we ask the people of Minnesota to keep Officer Grell and her family in their thoughts during this difficult time,” Col. Smith said.

Officer Grell was laid to rest on Friday, according to the DNR.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Sarah Grell, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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