Minnetonka man killed in collision with squad car
52-year-old pronounced dead at the scene
A Minnetonka man was killed last night when he drove into the path of a Minnetonka police car responding to a 911 call.
The crash occurred at the intersection of Excelsior Boulevard and Woodland Road in Minnetonka around 9:30 p.m.
Sean Kian, 52, was pronounced dead at the scene after being ejected from his vehicle, a 1988 BMW 325I convertible, said Minnesota State Patrol Officer Eric Roeske.
The driver of the squad car, Minnetonka Police Officer Daniel Aschenbrener, 28, suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center last night. He has since been released, said Minnetonka Police Chief Mark Raquet.
Aschenbrener, heading west in his squad car on Excelsior Boulevard with his lights on and sirens engaged, was responding to a report of a 17-year-old male who was threatening his family and searching his house for a weapon with the intent of harming himself, said Raquet.
The call was not compromised because of the crash, Raquet added.
Kian was northbound on Woodland Road approaching Excelsior Boulevard, when Kian drove in the oncoming officer’s path.
“Any time a life is lost, it’s a heartbreaking, heart-wrenching situation for all involved, especially the family,” Roeske said.
Roeske said the state patrol’s crash reconstruction team began working at the site last night to determine how and why the crash occurred.
Yet to be determined are the speed of both vehicles at the time of the crash, the status of the traffic lights at the intersection and the status of the Opticom System, which preempts the normal operation of traffic lights, typically to assist emergency vehicles.
“Those are all things we’ll determine through the course of the investigation,” Roeske said.
Raquet said Aschenbrener has been placed on administrative leave while more information is gathered.
“He doesn’t have any discipline in his file with related to any driving conduct,” Raquet added.
Alcohol and text messaging did not appear to be factors in the accident, Roeske said, and the investigation will determine if there is video surveillance of the collision.
Kian was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash.
“With the impact of the crash on the passenger side of the vehicle, the actual area where the driver sits was largely unaffected by the crash,” Roeske said at a press conference this afternoon in the Minnetonka City Council Chambers. “It’s our belief that there’s a very, very high likelihood that he would have survived this crash had he been wearing a seat belt.”
Roeske said that reconstruction reports are typically very involved processes, which affect when investigations are complete.
“There’s a lot of things that are yet to be determined that can either accelerate or cause the investigation to take more time,” he said. “I couldn’t put a real solid timetable on it right now.”