Crash on Hwy 12 highlights a continuous problem

Ross and Tina Langhans know all too well the pain felt by the family of 26-year-old Alexander Grenell of Maple Grove.

“They’re very sad and we just told them that we’re here for them and it’s going to be a rough road ahead,” frowned Tina Langhans.

Grenell, his parents’ only son, died early Saturday morning after he rear ended a driver traveling eastbound on Hwy 12 at Old Crystal Bay. Grenell spun out into the westbound lanes as a result of the impact and was then struck by an oncoming car.

Grenell was airlifted and later passed away inside a nearby hospital.

The other two drivers were not hurt.

Though alcohol was detected in Grenell's system, whether or not the amount was over the legal limit remains unknown until the Hennepin County Medical Examiner releases toxicology results.

“People are still dying!” exclaimed Ross Langhans, whose 25-year-old daughter Chelsea also died on Hwy 12 in August.

Chelsea killed only about a mile from where Alex crashed. The young woman was struck by an oncoming driver who crossed the centerline.

“If there was a divider down the highway many months ago when my daughter was killed the other guy could’ve never crossed the centerline and hit her,” Chelsea’s mother, Tina, believes.

Alex and Chelsea share much in common. They were once classmates, both 2008 Orono High School graduates.

“How many families have to get that knock on the door in the morning?” Said Executive Director of Minnesotans for Safe Driving, Jon Cummings, who worries the instance of preventable crashes across the state are on the rise. “Senseless! And it just keeps happening."

West Hennepin Public Safety Chief Gary Kroells tells Fox 9 Hwy 12 is one of the most dangerous in Minnesota.

Since August 2015 there have been seven deaths on Hwy 12. And over the past five years there have been more than 800 crashes on the 10 mile stretch of roadway from Wayzata to Delano.

Several local law makers currently propose the reconstruction of a safer Hwy 12. That recommendation is even apart of the transportation bonding bill, but Kroells says it does not sound like this bill will have much traction this legislative session.