Family describes cyclist killed in St. Paul crash as outdoorsman with adventurous spirit

The cyclist who died in Wednesday afternoon's bus crash in St. Paul was identified Thursday as Al Grahn, a 75-year-old who family describes as an active outdoorsman with a loving and adventurous spirit.

Grahn was on his way home from lunch with several longtime friends at Dixies on Grand in St. Paul when he was struck by a school bus while crossing the intersection of Summit and Snelling Avenues, a notoriously tricky, multiple-lane intersection that has seen issues in the past. 

Just 24 hours later at Grahn's longtime Twin Cities' home, which he shared with his wife for more than four decades, the couple's daughter described a man who often united his greatest loves--family and the outdoors.

"[Even at his age] he wanted to bike, ski and climb," said Adrienne Anderson, Grahn's daughter. "He didn’t want to give up and he didn’t want to get old. He didn’t want his body to fail him so he just kept going."

The 80-year-old bus driver was making a left turn at the time of the crash, though it remains unclear what color the light was or if there were any other factors that contributed to the incident. At least 30 children were on board, many of whom saw the crash. 

"I feel really bad for the kids on that bus," Anderson said. "They have to live with that trauma of seeing that."

It's also a tragedy, she added, that Grahn died while riding at a dangerous intersection after years of fierce advocacy for bicycle safety.

Now, his family hopes the city moves quickly on improving protection for cyclists on Summit Avenue, especially after everything Grahn's children and grandchildren have lost.

"That’s probably the most heartbreaking thing, because he loved [his grandchildren] so much and wanted to be with them. That was the only thing that was important to him," Anderson said. "He didn’t want gifts, he just wanted time with his family."

St. Paul police say at least 75 crashes have been reported at this intersection over the last five years. An outdoor memorial is planned for Grahn at a local park on June 3rd.