Blaine community mourns loss of police officer and wife killed in crash

The Blaine Police Department mourns the loss of an officer and his wife, after they were killed in a crash Friday night in Elk River, Minnesota. 

According to police, a 17-year-old girl behind the wheel of a pickup truck was driving south on Twin Lake Road in Elk River Friday evening when her vehicle crossed the center line and collided with a motorcyclist and his passenger.

The teen driver suffered minor injuries in the head on collision. Off-duty Blaine police officer Steve Nanney, 51, and his wife Susie, 51, who were traveling on their motorcycle, both died in the crash. 

Saturday afternoon, a cross stood at the crash site, marking the place the Nanney’s lost their lives. News of the couple’s deaths hit the Blaine community hard. 

“We were awestruck, we really were,” Blaine Police Chief Brian Podany said. 

Nanney, a 10-year veteran, worked as a school resource officer at Blaine High School. He was someone that many students looked up to, Podany said.  

“He had a heart of gold,” said Podany. “He really was just a kind person who would do anything to help people out, but he was very genuine as well.” 

Susie was an associate professor in the Family Medicine and Community Health Department at the University of Minnesota. 

“If you knew Steve, you knew Susie, his wife—they were together all the time,” Podany said. 

The couple did not have any children, but shared a passion for travel and adventure. 

As the Blaine community mourns the loss of the Nanneys, authorities in Elk River are working to figure out what went wrong. 

“We try to find the silver linings in tragedy, to know that they were together and they didn’t suffer,” Podany said. “It helps bring us comfort, but it’s also painful.”

Statement from Senator Amy Klobuchar:

"The Blaine community is hurting this Father's Day weekend with the loss of Susie and Steve Nanney. Susie was a distinguished professor at the University of Minnesota and served in my office as a health fellow from 2016 to 2017 with a special focus on children’s and rural health care. She was such a caring and respected person, and her husband Steve served his community selflessly for 10 years with the Blaine Police Department. They leave behind many friends and loved ones. My prayers are with Susie and Steve's families, friends, and their coworkers in Blaine and at the University of Minnesota."