Fallen Northland conservation officer honored in D.C., safety improvements made at dangerous intersection

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 7:02 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- An Itasca County woman is among the hundreds of fallen law enforcement officers being honored in our nation’s Capitol this week.

Sarah Grell, 39, was a Minnesota DNR conservation officer.

The mother of three was killed in the line of duty in May 2021, when a semi truck t-boned her pickup north of Grand Rapids.

Minnesota DNR conservation officer Sarah Grell.
Minnesota DNR conservation officer Sarah Grell.(MN DNR)

As part of National Police Week, Grell’s name has been added to a memorial wall in Washington D.C., where families of all fallen officers can come mourn and remember their loved ones.

“Coming here and interacting with people who are feeling the same pain, they laugh. they talk they cry. It’s important. It’s very very important to us,” Patrick Yoes, with the Fraternal Order of Police, said.

There’s a handful of other events happening during National Police Week, including a memorial for fallen K9 officers Wednesday and a candlelight vigil on Friday.

The crash that killed Grell happened at the intersection of County Roads 336 and 57 in Lawrence Township, north of Grand Rapids.

Map of crash scene
Map of crash scene(MGN Maps)

That’s the same intersection where paramedic Troy Boettcher and 17-year-old Joseph Latimer died just two weeks later. Both were onboard an ambulance when it was hit by a dump truck.

Just this week, we learned Itasca County leaders have improved safety at that intersection in the last year.

A county engineer says they’ve installed larger stop signs on both sides of the road instead of just on the right hand side.

They’re also clearing trees and installing rumble strips to encourage drivers to pay more attention.

County engineers say they are not aware crashes, or close calls, at that intersection since.

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