Family committed to preventing another 'senseless' Highway 12 crash

On Aug. 22, Chelsea Langhans was killed in a tragic head-on collision on Highway 12 near Orono, Minn. when a driver headed in the opposite direction crossed the center lane and plowed into her vehicle. Now, her loved ones want to try and make sure other families don't suffer a similar loss on what they call one of the most dangerous highways in the state.

Liz Squire, Langhans’ sister, urged members of the Highway 12 safety coalition Thursday to do something to reduce crashes on the stretch of highway that extends west from Interstate 394.

“They drive on that road as if it’s a highway,” Squire said. “It’s not. At the end of the day, it is a single, one lane road.”

One potential idea being debated is to add some kind of median barrier in the corridor where the crash occurred.

“It’s very unique how it changes over the course of 5 miles from a freeway to what’s known as a Super 2, to a rural road, all within Hennepin County, all with high traffic volume numbers on them.” Gary Kroells, West Hennepin Public Safety Director said.

The coalition is working with MnDOT and is committed to making changes along the 30-plus mile stretch of Highway 12 that runs all the way out through Howard Lake and Cokato.

Residents and local law enforcement believe the road is just too dangerous and that speed limits, road widening intersection improvements and lighting enhancements should all be on the table.

Of course, funding is key if the changes are going to happen, but the Langhans family insists it is time for action.

“If there is any way we can prevent another senseless, freak accident like what happened to Chelsea, we are going voice our opinion and make it happen,” Squire said.