A woman was run over twice and killed by the same driver in Falcon Heights on Saturday, two years after the cancer death of her 32-year-old sister, a world-class distance runner, authorities said Monday.
The incident occurred about 7 p.m. near the University of Minnesota women's soccer facility in the 1700 block of N. Cleveland Avenue north of Larpenteur Avenue, the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office said.
Abigail "Abby" Anderson, 29, of Minneapolis, died that night at Regions Hospital, the Sheriff's Office said.
Anderson was the sister of Gabriele "Gabe" Grunewald, an elite middle-distance runner from Perham, Minn., who died in 2019 from adenoid cystic carcinoma, which was diagnosed in 2009 while she was running for the University of Minnesota. Abby also ran for the Gophers after starring in track at Perham High School.
The sisters' father, Kim Anderson, said Monday that Abby was heading to the soccer field to see her boyfriend coach a match when she was hit.
He said the family has been told little about the circumstances of the incident other than the driver and Abby Anderson were not known to each other, and "it's a criminal investigation at this point [involving] inattentive driving."
"We're just driving around trying to get our heads around it," Kim Anderson said, who pulled over to answer questions with his wife, Laura.
Abby Anderson also was an avid runner and active in Brave Like Gabe, the foundation her sister started in 2019 to fund research of rare cancers. Abby ran the New York City Marathon in honor of her sister later that year. Kim Anderson said Abby was getting ready for the foundation's 5-kilometer race at Lake Phalen Regional Park scheduled for Sept. 26.
In an interview for Women's Running magazine in 2019, Abby Anderson said, "When I run now, it's just a reminder where I come from and it's an echo of Gabe's impact on my life. In my grief and not really knowing what to do with all these emotions and frustrations, going out for a run and having that control and release has been a huge part of the healing process. I'm just trying to take a cue from Gabe and find a positive thing I can do when I don't really have control over the situation around me."
Kim Anderson said Abby helped the Brooks athletic shoe company design the "Brave Like Gabe" model of shoe.
The foundation released a statement Tuesday afternoon that read: "Words alone cannot capture Abby's bright, joyful and generous spirit or the beautiful art she gave the world. Abby brought incredible light and hope to the Foundation, and it is impossible to imagine that she is no longer with us. We know many of you in this community developed a personal connection to Abby through Brave Like Gabe, and we wish you peace as you take in this news and grieve the loss of a dear friend."
According to the Sheriff's Office:
A pickup truck driver hit a parked car and then Anderson, sending both vehicles and the pedestrian through a chain-link fence.
The truck made a U-turn and ran over Abby Anderson again while getting back on Cleveland Avenue.
The driver was taken to Regions, where a blood sample was collected to test for any drug or alcohol use. The Sheriff's Office is withholding the driver's identity and declining to say whether an arrest has been made.
Kara Goucher, the Duluth distance-running standout and Olympian, posted Monday on Twitter that "I am heartbroken. Sending so much love to the Grunewald family. And from someone who lost her father to a drunk driver 39 years ago, I am filled with so much anger that this is still happening. Inexcusable."
Abby Anderson worked as a nurse for Children's Hospital in Minneapolis and was studying to be a certified nurse practitioner.
"She had a super fun personality, upbeat, a great sense of humor and a unique laugh that we all love," Kim Anderson said. "She gave it her all."
Along with her parents, Abby Anderson is survived by a twin brother, Benjamin, and two older brothers, Zachary and Caleb. Arrangements for the funeral in Perham are pending.
An online campaign has been started to raise money for the Abigail Anderson Memorial and the Brave Like Gabe Foundation.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482