Parents of college student killed in crash speak out

1:11 PM, Feb 20, 2013   |    comments
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Photo of Danielle Renninger courtesy Shari Fleming Photography

EXCELSIOR, Minn. -- Nearly one year has passed, but the answers to the questions that followed the death of their daughter still haven't come for Mike and Michelle Renninger.

"I just go back to that accident all of the time, that's how she left us," Michelle said Tuesday night, remembering the crash that took her only daughter, Danielle, on Feb. 20, 2012.

In white out conditions on a stretch of I-94 near Alexandria, Danielle was heading back to North Dakota State University with three classmates, Jordan Playle, Megan Sample and Lauren Peterson.

Peterson was driving, trying to race away from the storm.

"They were planning to miss it. They left three hours earlier than they were going to and you know, they ran into it," Mike Renninger said.

Peterson, authorities would later confirm, was driving too fast for the conditions and lost control.

The car crossed the median stalling in the eastbound lane when it was slammed broadside by an SUV.

The girls were all killed, on impact.

"I'm just seeing her in the accident and how, the dynamic of it, and then what she was thinking. The fact that we weren't able  to protect her," Mike said nearing tears.

Nothing can ease that pain for the Renninger's, but as a result of the accident and some lobbying to MnDOT by friends of the girls change will come to that roadway.

MnDOT is putting in median cable guardrails there this spring that will hopefully forever prevent another crossover in the median.

Because no parent, should live the year, these parents have lived.

"I just miss her being in the world. I just miss her walking through the door, being my girl," Michelle said.

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