John Liebenstein, 40, had served with the Sheriff’s Office for nine years when he was killed May 3, 1996, after a 17-year-old driver rammed a stolen vehicle into Liebenstein’s car at 90 mph during a pursuit on southbound Interstate 35.
Liebenstein, who was nearby, heard about the high-speed pursuit on his scanner and stationed his unmarked squad car at the top of the interstate's County Road 1 exit ramp. It was there the teenager hurtled a Lincoln Continental into the investigator’s vehicle, killing him instantly.
Liebenstein is survived by his wife, Jean, and the couple’s three children.
Both Liebenstein and Hanson, along with three Faribault officers who served in the late 19th century, are among those who will be honored on the Southeast Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial. The memorial, under construction in Rochester, will honor fallen officers who served in municipal, state, federal and military agencies in 13 southeast Minnesota counties, including Rice.