Man Identified in Fatal Minnetonka Crash with Police Squad Car

The Minnetonka police cruiser was traveling westbound on Excelsior Blvd. on an emergency call, with lights and sirens activated, when a car was broadsided in the intersection of Woodland Road.

A Minnetonka man was killed Tuesday night when his car was struck by a police squad car on Woodland Road and Excelsior Blvd. in Minnetonka.

Sean Kian, 52, died at the scene of the crash.

Around 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 4, Minnetonka Police Officer Daniel Aschenbrener, 28, also of Minnetonka, was traveling westbound on Excelsior Blvd. on an emergency call with lights and sirens activated, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

Kian was driving a 1988 BMW northbound on Woodland Road. The squad car broadsided the passenger side of Kian's sedan when it cut into the squad car's path.

Kian was not wearing a seat belt. It is unknown whether alcohol was involved.

"If he would have had his seat belt on, there is a high likelihood that he would have survived the crash," said Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske. "All the damage was on the passenger side. There was virtually no intrusion on the driver's side."

Officer Aschenbrener was treated for non-life threatening injuries. He was driving a Minnetonka Police car (a 2010 Ford Crown Victoria) at the time of the crash.

At a Wednesday afternoon news conference at Minnetonka City Hall with the Minnesota State Patrol and Minnetonka Police, Police Chief Mark Raquet said Officer Aschenbrener is on paid administrative leave while the crash is investigated by the State Patrol. He has been with the Minnetonka Police Department since September 2010 and has no driving violations in his file, according to Raquet.

Raquet said Aschenbrener was on his way to an emergency call regarding a 17-year-old who was threatening his family and searching for a weapon in the home with the intent to harm himself.

"The call was not compromised," Raquet said. "The call was handled in an appropriate time and manner that we normally do."

Raquet said state statutes and department protocol dictate the way officers drive when headed to emergencies. 

"There is a statute that gives us certain exemptions to traffic laws," he said. "But what the statute tells us is that we need to slow down through intersections and use due care before proceeding."

Roeske said it is too early to tell if "due care" was taken by Aschenbrener in this situation. 

"We have to look at the totality of the situation," he said. Roeske said he can't put a time frame on the accident reconstruction, but it is typically a long process.

• Click here to watch a video of the news conference.


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Meeche Miller December 05, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Having lights and sirens on doesn't mean he can go merrily about his way without looking for other vehicles at intersections. Kids today have loud music blaring in their vehicles and probably don't hear the police sirens. Ever think about that? Was the emergency this officer was going to justify the lights and sirens? Did it justify killing this person in the other vehicle? Lights and sirens don't give officers the right to the road without any consequences. They still need to be vigilent - I hope this young officer will also take on some blame here and not be excused because he had lights and sirens on! I hope it comes out just what the emergency he was heading to was important enough to justify this accident!
Billy December 05, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Are you serious with this comment or just trolling?
xc December 05, 2012 at 05:14 PM
I've lived very near this location for over twenty years. Numerous times I've seen Minnetonka police traveling at insane speeds in thirty mile per hour zones, often with no lights or sirens on. I've always said it was just a matter of time before somemone will be killed. Most police cars have video recorders built in. I hope someone other than the police department reviews the recording to verify lights and sirens were on and determines who had the green light at the intersection.
Sally December 05, 2012 at 05:29 PM
I agree completely with comments from xc! I have lived in the area 19 years and have witnessed many accidents at that intersection! One being a firetruck with a car. I believe the traffic lights need to be replaced with more current lights AND the Mtka police need to take in to account the type of neighborhood they are in, residential homes-low speed limit, before they rev their engines to respond to a call. It is ashame it may take the death of a resident for them to realize this problem intersection needs to be reviewed.
georgia December 05, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Although I agree about the problem, I have also seen MANY cars try to beat the police car, ignore the sirens, or just not pay attention. Come on--he didn't have a seat belt on which probably would have saved his life. We make decisions. He lost.
Jeff December 05, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Meeche Miller and xc---It is a tragedy that someone lost their life in this horrible accident. I don't know what the officer was responding to and I would have to think that you do not know either. However if you or your loved one was in need of emergency response you would want them there as fast as they could get there. Please do not speculate about the either of the drivers involved. There are several families that have to live with this: The families of the drivers of both vehicles--not to mention the emergency people that had to come to the scene to help. Now as for your argument that " Kids today have loud music blaring in their vehicles and probably don't hear the police sirens." I guess that discussion is for another time. BUT everyone that puts the keys into the ignition of a car needs to pay attention to EVERYTHING around them.
WR December 05, 2012 at 06:11 PM
I live a few houses from the intersection. I work at home. I watch police and citizens speeding in the area every day. I listen to sirens all day long. I witness the excessive speed at which nearly everyone travels in this area. Every day I think that the excessive speeds are going to kill someone. Last night I heard the sirens and within seconds I heard the "thunk" that ended in a man's death. The were no screeching brakes, just "thunk." There clearly was not even time for anyone to react. I watched as this heinous scene unfolded in my neighbor's front yard through the night. It's time to start issuing speeding tickets and it's time for the police to slow down.
MikeT December 05, 2012 at 08:37 PM
a serious question has to be raised about the Mtka police policy around high speed non emergency runs. I used to live in the Mtka Mills area and remember hearing police cars w sirens driving unsafe speeds at least a couple times a day on Mtka Blvd. I cant imagine that in all of these instances was there an emergency that justified putting other lives in danger.
dave jordan December 05, 2012 at 09:03 PM
One disability Sean had was that he is hard of hearing. Sean is from Iran, he was a tank driver in the Iran/Iraq war. He personally told me of his hearing problems, and what particular sounds hurt his ears. I am not making judgements, just acknowledging that there were variables that may have contributed to this tragety. Sean is a good man and will be missed.
Suzy December 05, 2012 at 10:56 PM
When I have a son looking for a gun to injure himself, I hope that the police go on the red to help me! I will back the police up along with the fire fighters risking their lives any day. That fire truck that was in the accident a few years ago was sitting at the red light when someone smashed into them. We seem to only want police around when it is convenient for us. Yes, I have gotten 2 tickets in 30 years of driving, 1 I deserved and 1 I did not, but, like I said, when I have my house on fire or a child thinking of suicide, PLEASE COME ON THE RED AND BE SAFE.
debber December 05, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Before people start pointing the finger on who was in the wrong maybe we should say a little prayer for the life that was lost, his family and the police officer involved in this tragic accident.
Anonymous December 05, 2012 at 11:31 PM
I witnessed the accident happening - i believe Sean ran a red light, as I was heading eastbound on excelsior, ready to turn onto Woodland. I saw the flashing lights (in front of All Saints) and pulled over to the right and watched the cars crash. Lights had to be green for the squad car. No brakes, no time to react, just a tragedy. Sean was driving much faster than 30 mph, and obviously the squad car was, too.
Sy December 06, 2012 at 01:21 PM
How is that most of the incident like this involved police car, not fire truck or ambulances?
Vicki Evensen December 06, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Prayerts to Sean's family. I knew him very well. We met at the Mermaid nightclub where his hangout was back in the 90"s I am saddened and in shock at this news.
georgia December 06, 2012 at 05:30 PM
I think part of it is the number of police cars on the road vs. fire trucks and ambulances. The numbers are MUCH higher.
S.S Doe December 06, 2012 at 09:21 PM
As I feel for both of the parties here, the police have a duty to keep everyone safe. This Officer was responding to an Emergency of a teenager with a gun ready to do harm to himself and to his family.This to me warrants,lights and sirens. Above each and every light intersection is a bright white flashing light when there is an emergency vehical in route. Plus the lights will turn in order to stop oncoming traffic.If Sean was hard of hearing like Dave Jordan says, he also should have been aware of looking at the lights before entering out into the intersection if you have a disability as such as Sean had...Also its the LAW to have your seat belt buckled. Anyone with a drivers licence knows and should be aware of the consequence of injury or death..This is WHY our Police force HAS LIGHTS and SIRENS so YOU can get out of their way....sending Prayers to all the family's that this has affected
S.S Doe December 06, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Police are the first to respond...then the fire trucks and then the Ambulance
S.S Doe December 06, 2012 at 09:25 PM
I totally Agree!
S.S Doe December 06, 2012 at 09:34 PM
I just found this, Court records show that Kian's Minnesota driving record includes numerous tickets dating to the 1990s and as recently as 2007, when he was cited for failing to yield to a motor vehicle. He also had been ticketed many times for speeding and failing to observe a traffic signal. The Officer in question has had NO other prior driving records
Ash December 07, 2012 at 02:11 AM
The citizens in Minnetonka are some of the best people in the world. I can assure you the police department is also one of the best in the State if not the Country when It comes to officer training, education, dedication, and pride for service. It is typical for 200-300 people to apply for 1 open position. Many of them have multiple years of service with other police departments wanting to leave their department and join Minnetonka Police Department. No officer ever wants this to happen. He was the first one to try and save this persons life after the accident. Imagine the pain he must have felt at that moment and from here on out while serving the citizens of Minnetonka he swore to protect. God bless the citizens of Minnetonka and the police officers.
Dave Timmons December 10, 2012 at 05:17 PM
While this is a tragic accident, it is important to point out that the Minnesota statute regarding emergency vehicles, requires emergency vehicles to proceed with due caution when going through a red light. In Minneapolis you will notice fire trucks going with red lights & siren almost stop at every red light/stop sign before going through. Certainly I don't know the circumstances that caused this accident. But this should be a reminder to all those that drive emergency vehicles to "look out for the other guy". Red lights & siren is NOT a license to violate traffic laws - you still must drive with due caution.
Dave Timmons December 10, 2012 at 05:18 PM
And your point is?
Jb December 13, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Your an idiot! You were NOT there there so don't judge!!!!!


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