Crash on Blaisdell Avenue causes death

Jason Ritenour, who performed with his wife in the acro-stilting group High Stakes, died April 30 in a car accident. Photo courtesy of Nancy May Photography

Two drivers traveling southbound on Blaisdell Avenue April 30 failed to stop at a red light and crashed into two other vehicles at 26th Street, causing the death of one passenger.

Marcy-Holmes resident Jason Alexander Ritenouer died after riding on 26th Street in one of the impacted vehicles, according to police. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene; the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office said he died of multiple blunt force injuries.

Four other victims traveled to Hennepin County Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. The crash occurred at 9:36 a.m.

Of the vehicles that ran the red light, the occupants of one vehicle remained at the scene while occupants of the second vehicle fled on foot, police said. Officers located one of the people who fled and interviewed and released that person.

Ritenour died on his 32nd birthday. His wife, Gaea Dill-D’Ascoli, was in the car with him during the crash. A memorial fund to help her cover expenses for their new home is available at

Ritenour worked at Mytech Partners and spent three years in the Peace Corps in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. He was active in Hwa Rang Do, acrobatics, flying trapeze, the Renaissance Festival and social causes. He performed at Bryant Lake Bowl with his wife in the acro-stilting group High Stakes.

The performance art group Geek Slink & Drink said in a Facebook post that Ritenour will be missed:

“Jason was a joy to have in our shows, and he always brought wit, humor, and sunshine to the greenroom and on stage. He was known for doing what he loved in life and never ever slowing down,” stated the post.

Photo by Grinkie Photography
Photo by Grinkie Photography

The crash is under investigation and police are looking for surveillance video. Anyone with information can text an anonymous tip to 847411 (TIP411). People may also call the MPD TIP Line at 612-692-TIPS (8477).