A spirited and determined 16-year-old was just getting back into the swing of riding a bike again after an injury when he was run over on a Blaine residential street by a motorist suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Blaine High School 10th-grader Tony Janisch of Coon Rapids was bicycling with one of his brothers and a friend after 6:30 p.m. Friday on eastbound NE. 129th Avenue near Lincoln Street when the teen was hit head-on by a westbound car, according to the Anoka County Sheriff's Office. He died at the scene.
Janisch's 15-year-old brother, Tanner, was with him, the boys' mother said Sunday.
"The two were best friends," Jenny Janisch said. "Tanner held Tony in his arms until the ambulance arrived."
Daniel A. Rodman, 28, of Blaine, remains jailed on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide. Charges could come as soon as this week.
The investigators "were looking at whether it was a combination of alcohol or drug use," Sheriff's Lt. Andy Knotz said Sunday.
Janisch played youth football for several years and wrestled for nearly 10 years "until an injury caused him to have to fight to walk again," Jenny Janisch said.
"Friday was the second day he had ridden his bike since his surgery last summer," Janisch said. "We were so happy he was going on a bike ride."
"Six months ago, we didn't know if [he would] ever walk again on his own," she said. "He fought and is strong and was doing so great."
Janisch said her son's goal "was to get better so he [could] wrestle his senior year. His dream was to be a top-ranked high school wrestler like his older brothers."
A GoFundMe campaign has been started online in an effort to help the family with expenses related to the crash.
It notes that Janisch's mother is a hair stylist and is out of work because of business restrictions connected to the coronavirus outbreak. The teen's father "has also experienced a reduction in his income by half due to forced restaurant closures," the posting reads.
Tony Janisch was the fourth of six children in the family and "was my most affectionate child," his mother said. "He showed love a lot by ribbing us and teasing. ... He helped many friends that were having hard times at home by having them over to our home whenever they needed a place to stay."
Rodman's criminal history in Minnesota spans his entire adult life and includes numerous convictions for driving without a valid license, according to court records. That includes three times after his license was either suspended or revoked, and three more times after it expired.
His license was valid at the time of the crash, a state Department of Public Safety official said Monday.
Rodman has also been convicted twice for driving under the influence of alcohol and for weapons violations, auto theft, domestic assault, having open alcohol in a vehicle and witness tampering.
Arrangements for Tony Janisch's funeral were pending Sunday afternoon.
Because of limits on how many people can gather in one place, the family "will only be allowed to have nine people and the priest at the funeral, which is incredibly sad," said Jennifer Teter, a family friend. "We are a strong Catholic community with many large families; we support each other," Teter said. "The funeral will likely be livestreamed, though."