Elk River, MN – Blaine Police Officer Steve Nanney and his wife, Susie, were killed in an off-duty motorcycle crash on Friday night, the department said.
The fatal incident occurred at approximately 6 p.m., when Officer Nanney’s motorcycle collided head-on with a truck being driven by a 17-year-old Elk river driver, the Star Tribune reported.
Officer Nanney and his wife, Marilyn “Susie” Nanney, were declared dead at the scene.
Both were 51 years old.
The teen driver suffered minor injuries in the collision, and the investigation into the cause of the fatal crash was ongoing, police said.
Officer Nanney, a 10-year veteran of the force, had served as a school resource officer at Blaine High School for the past three years, the Blaine Police Department said in a Facebook post on Saturday morning.
“He was fortunate to be able to serve, mentor, and impact the youth in our community,” the department said. “Steve was also very active in his work volunteering in multiple capacities for Special Olympics.”
“It’s devastation,” Special Olympics Minnesota representative Kathy Karkula told KSTP. “What a guy, the athletes loved him…we couldn't do the event knowing the name Steve Nanney."
During a Saturday press conference, Blaine Police Chief Brian Podany described Officer Nanney as a “genuine” man who was “soft-spoken, yet resolute,” KARE reported.
"He had a heart of gold," Chief Podany explained. "He really was just a kind person who would do anything he could to help people out."
Susie, a University of Minnesota associate professor, dedicated her life to children’s dietary health and actively promoted school wellness and hunger relief programs for kids, the department said.
“Susie was a cherished faculty member in the Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health,” the university said in a statement to KSTP. “Her energy and caring nature seemed to know no bounds. An accomplished researcher, she dedicated her career to improving the health and nutrition of underserved populations, particularly children. We will miss her dearly.
The Blaine Police Department said that the couple’s “compassion and kindness” were well-known in the tight-knit community.
"If you knew Steve you knew Susie…they were together all the time," Chief Podany said, according to KARE. "To know one was to know the other. And you know, we try to find silver linings in tragedy, and to know that they were together, they didn’t suffer…it just helps bring us some comfort."
On Saturday, officers from Blaine PD and Coon Rapids PD came together to honor a commitment Officer Nanney had made to one of the high school students he mentored, by attending the teen’s graduation party.
“They took time away from their grief and work schedules, to make a very special day [that] the graduate and many others, will soon not forget -- if ever,” Sharon Kinney wrote in a Facebook video caption of the touching scene.
According to the post, Officer Nanney had also assisted the teen with his plans to become a law enforcement officer.
"To hear from the kids how much…he has changed their lives, we know that his life was not in vain," Chief Podany said, according to KARE.
"We’re hurting here as a department and we’re hurting as a community and we’ll get through, you know, we have a strong community here in Blaine," Chief Podany continued. "Even though we no longer have them we have their spirit, and they will live on."
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Blaine Police Officer Steve Nanney, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.