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.
We work closely with DNR conservation officers and know first-hand how dedicated they are to their jobs.
For 16 years, Sarah Grell dedicated her life to protecting our natural resources and Minnesotans.
Today, we honor Sarah who was tragically killed in a crash while on duty. https://t.co/VBD5FHGCkp
— MN State Patrol (@MnDPS_MSP) May 25, 2021
Today we honored and celebrated the life of fallen Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer Sarah Grell, who made the ultimate sacrifice when she died in the line of duty May 24, 2021. The people of Minnesota and beyond thank her for her dedicated service. pic.twitter.com/nGt00d6Mem
— Minnesota DNR (@mndnr) May 28, 2021
Blessed Are The Peacemakers.
We are saddened to announce the death of Conservation Officer Sarah Grell of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – Enforcement Division, Minnesota.
End of Watch: Monday, May 24, 2021 pic.twitter.com/hjtg3Zuq3j
— Thin Blue Line USA (@thinbluelineUSA) May 26, 2021
We are deeply saddened to report the loss of Sarah Grell of the MN Department of Natural Resources-Enforcement Div. Our thoughts and prayers are with family, friends and colleagues of this fallen hero. May she rest in peace. Thank you for your service.#LODD #Rememberthefallen pic.twitter.com/Udu7xLb42N
— RosemontPublicSafety (@RSMTpolicefire) May 25, 2021
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.