By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced that one of its conservation officers died in the line of duty Monday morning.

Officer Sarah Grell, 39, died following a crash involving two vehicles near Grand Rapids.

“The sense of loss we feel right now is indescribable,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said. “We are heartbroken for her family. Our deepest sympathies and concerns are with them. Officer Grell leaves behind an incredible legacy of service to Minnesota’s people and natural resources.”

Sarah Grell (credit: Minnesota DNR)

Grell was an officer since 2005 and was married with three children, the DNR said. Her father, uncle and grandfather were also conservation officers; her husband works for the DNR’s Forestry Division; and her mother worked for the department’s fisheries.

“Minnesotans across the Northland are heartbroken tonight to learn of the tragic passing of Officer Sarah Grell,” Republican state Rep. Spencer Igo said in a statement. “I want to send my deepest condolences and prayers to her family, loved ones, and all those at the DNR who are mourning the loss of a friend and colleague.”

Gov. Tim Walz announced Monday evening that all U.S. and Minnesota flags will be flown at half-staff at all state and federal buildings on the day Grell is interned.

“My ask of Minnesotans is that the next time you meet a Conservation Officer as you enjoy Minnesota’s public lands and waters, remember Officer Grell and thank that officer for their work,” Walz said.

Officials with the Minnesota State Patrol, which is leading the investigation, said the crash occurred when a semi driver hit the driver’s side door of a Chevrolet Silverado at the intersection of Itasca county roads 336 and 57.

The DNR says Grell is the 23rd state conservation officer to die in the line of duty.