Community Mourns Victims of Inver Grove Heights Crash

Updated: 11/20/2012 7:57 AM KSTP.com By: Jennie Olson

A Twin Cities family lost a grandmother and her two grandchildren just days before Thanksgiving.

Authorities say 70-year-old Elaine Clausen, 11-year-old Laela Shawel, and 4-year-old Gion Clausen-Young, all of Inver Grove Heights, were killed in a crash Friday when a car and schoolbus collided head-on in Inver Grove Heights.

The crash happened just before 4 p.m. on Argenta Trail at 77th Street W., just south of Highway 55.

Both the bus and the car were on fire when officers arrived. Police say they found three people dead in the car.

Crosses and flowers now mark the spot where the crash happened.

No children were on the schoolbus at the time of the crash.

The school bus driver, later identified as 54-year-old Timothy Nelson of Eagan, was not hurt in the crash. No drugs or alcohol were found in Nelson's system. He will be able to go back to work as soon as possible.

The bus was from the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan public school district.

The cause of the crash is unknown at this time, police say.

Inver Grove Heights police and the Minnesota State Patrol are investigating the crash.

Meanwhile, a fundraiser has been set up to help cover costs of the funerals. The fundraiser will be Friday at 5 p.m. at Drkula's in Inver Grove Heights. Proceeds will go to help the family cover the expenses of the burial as well as any other expenses the children's mother may incur while she takes time off of work to grieve.