Local News

Final Moments of National Guardsman Killed in Car Crash Bittersweet, Treated with Dignity and Love


The family of a National Guardsman from Garfield killed in a car wreck is expressing their appreciation to a bystander who sat and prayed with him during his final moments, and to first responders who covered his body with an American flag. Master Sgt. David Thomas Greiner of Garfield was killed in a May 14 car accident near Hinckley on his way to Duluth to drill with the National Guard.

The National Guard says Greiner, from Garfield, was in the military for almost 20 years, first serving as a helicopter mechanic in the U.S. Army in 2001. He had plans of retiring later this year.

The Minnesota State Patrol says an SUV driven by a 21-year-old Cambridge woman crossed the median on southbound I-35 just after 4 p.m., colliding with Greiner’s SUV, which was traveling northbound. The woman was not wearing her seat belt. Her 36-year-old passenger, a man from St. Paul, was wearing his.

Greiner was laid to rest Saturday, May 22nd, 2021.

Greiner went to Alexandria Technical College earning his AAS degree in Diesel Mechanics. Following his schooling, Dave started working in construction and masonry primary with Bitzan/Ohren Masonry. Greiner married his wife, Jess in Alexandria in 2002. In February 2002, Greiner joined the United States Air Force. Dave was stationed in Hurlburt Field AFB, Florida. He worked as a helicopter mechanic for three years until Dave was transferred to the Duluth Air National Guard Base where Dave served as a heavy equipment operator. During his time in the Air Force Guards, he achieved the rank of Master Sergeant (E7). He completed two tours in Afghanistan and two stateside tours. Greiner continued his training on his drill weekends and was due to retire in October with 20 years of service. After his transfer to Duluth, Dave and Jess moved back to the Alexandria area where Dave continued his work in construction and masonry.

Greiner was described as, “Adventurous and loved spending time outdoors deer hunting, camping, and being out on the lake on the pontoon. His greatest joy in life was his family whether it was spending time with Jess and their two dogs, playing XBox with his brothers, nephew, and niece, or being the ‘favorite’ uncle to all of his nieces and nephews. Dave will be remembered for many things, but those that stand out are his kindness, dedication, and humility. Dave may have been quiet, but his big heart spoke volumes.”

Thank you for your service, Master Sgt. Greiner!