May 1, 2016; 12:55 PM ET
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The Orono High School class of 2008 has lost two classmates on a deadly stretch of Highway 12 in the last 8 months -- the first in August, the second on Saturday morning.
Alex Grenell, 26, was driving east on Highway 12 near Old Crystal Bay Road after 2 a.m. when he rear-ended a Honda Civic, Minnesota State Patrol officials said. Grenell then spun out onto the westbound lane of Highway 12 when he was struck by an oncoming Chevrolet Cruz. The other two drivers were not injured. It's unclear why the Honda had stopped.
Grenell was airlifted to the hospital, where he later died. Friends told Fox 9 he had three or four drinks over the course of six hours before heading home from a poker gathering. Grenell graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth with a degree in civil engineering.
On Aug. 22, an Orono High School graduate from Grenell's class, Chelsea Langhans, 25, was killed in a head-on crash on Highway 12 several miles east of the Long Lake-Orono border. An SUV driven by 69-year-old Arthur Henningsen crossed the center median of the two-lane highway and the two vehicles collided. Henningsen was also killed in the crash.
That August, a few miles west of the Orono accident scene, a 35-year-old man was killed when his car was rear-ended by a full-size motorhome going highway speed.
There have been 811 crashes on the two-lane highway in the past five years, a number of them fatal.
"It's a high volume roadway and it's an older roadway," Minnesota State Patrol spokesperson Lt. Tiffani Nielson said.
State lawmakers are pushing for a bill to get $15 million to fund safety improvements on Highway 12. The Highway 12 Safety Coalition is also working to address the dangers on the highway that runs through Hennepin and Wright counties.
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