ANOKA, Minn. (KMSP) - The woman who was struck and killed by an oncoming freight train in Anoka, Minnesota on Sunday morning has been identified as Danielle Rogers, 18, of Champlin.
Danielle's mother, Melissa, told Fox 9 her daughter was planning to take the Northstar Commuter Rail to her job at the Mall of America that morning because they thought it was a safer option than driving to Bloomington during the snow storm.
Melissa said she dropped her daughter off at the Anoka Station on the wrong side of the train tracks, but Dani thought it was safe to cross.
“She said The light rail is slow, those trains are slow.' So she got out, I said ‘I love you,’ she shut the door. And she walked through the crossbars,” said Melissa Rogers. “We think she slipped and fell. She knew the train was there, we didn't know it was a freight train. We thought it was light rail train. It was a horrible, horrible accident.”
Witnesses reported that Dani attempted to cross the tracks in front of an approaching freight train to get to the station, but she lost her footing in the snow and did not make it out of the path of the oncoming train in time, Anoka County sheriff’s office spokesperson Paul Sommer said in a statement.
Dani graduated from Champlin Park High School. She was a freshman at the University of Minnesota studying paleontology on a full scholarship, but was living at home. Her parents say she inherited her love of fossils from her grandfather.
“She looked up to him, and loved rocks,” her mother said. “She would skip recess, the kids were playing and my daughter's in the rock pile looking at rocks.”
She also shared her family's love of helping others, especially the homeless.
“Dani was right there by my side handing things out and helping them,” she said. “It's 20 below zero and she was right out there in Minneapolis handing them out with me.”
A family that has given so much to others is now helped through this tragic time by the love of an entire community.
“When she found out, she said ‘Not our Dani,’” said Michael Rogers, Dani’s father. “And the whole time, we just thought about us, our Dani. But we realized she was everybody's. Nobody that ever met her, ever said anything negative about her.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help support the Rogers Family. More information can be found here.