A close relative has identified the father and young son who were hurt on a Chisago County lake when an allegedly drunken snowmobiler roared through an occupied icehouse and clipped the family's pickup truck.
The 8-year-old boy was dragged across the ice by the snowmobile and critically hurt, according to the Chisago County Sheriff's Office.
The incident occurred shortly before 8 p.m. Friday on the north end of Chisago Lake, about a mile south of Chisago City. The snowmobiler, who also was injured and hospitalized, admitted he had been drinking and was arrested, the Sheriff's Office said.
A blood sample was taken at the hospital from the man, who refused to take a preliminary breath test, the Sheriff's Office continued. Results are pending. Authorities have yet to identify the man, and charges could come later this week.
The boy, Alan Geisenkoetter Jr., suffered "significant swelling" of his brain, a bruised lung and many broken bones, according to a CaringBridge page established by Alison Cromie, his aunt. He remained hospitalized in the Twin Cities on Sunday night, she said, and was showing signs of responsiveness.
"Alan is stable and fighting so hard. We won't have many updates until later this week. It's all just a waiting game until his brain swelling decreases," wrote his mother, Ellie Geisenkoetter, on the CaringBridge page about 7 p.m. Sunday.
His father, Alan Geisenkoetter, 43, also was hit by the snowmobile while putting up the ice-fishing house. "He is sore and bruised but had no major injuries," Cromie said Sunday night.
The father was setting up the icehouse while his wife and young daughter were sitting in the truck's cab, and Alan Jr. had just gotten out, Cromie said on the page. They had been out on another lake earlier that night, she said.
That's when someone started a snowmobile, prompting a curious young Alan to climb in the back of the pickup to see the machine as it passed by, the aunt's account said.
Ellie Geisenkoetter noticed the snowmobile was "coming a little too close and yelled for Alan Jr. to come back to the front of the truck," the aunt continued. "Before anyone knew what was happening, the snowmobile grazed the tailgate of the truck, hit Alan Jr. and then plowed right into the icehouse that Alan Sr. was setting up.
"Alan Jr. was dragged across the ice, and many people on the lake came to help while they waited for first responders."
Doctors are keeping watch to make sure Alan Jr. doesn't develop any major brain swelling in the next few days, Cromie said. They will perform surgeries on his legs once the swelling is at a safe level.
Kristian Lee Luger-Grass said on Facebook that he was fishing on the lake at the time, when "a guy driving 90 miles an hour in a snowmobile goes right through" the fish house. The lake is a popular recreation spot on the weekends.
Each year, a handful of people die and many more are injured in snowmobile incidents throughout the state. The state Department of Natural Resources warns people to never drink before driving, and that drivers with an alcohol concentration of .08 or more could be charged with a felony.
'A very bad decision'
Cromie said the snowmobile driver "made a very bad decision."
"I think it's terrible that he chose to get on this snowmobile after drinking to the extent where he was unable to see a parked car," she continued.
She described Alan Jr., who is in second grade, as a "very bright and helpful little guy."
The father and son love hunting, fishing and being outdoors. Alan Jr. shot his first grouse this year, Cromie said.
"The road to recovery is going to be long and hard, and the family will need help covering expenses while out of work and throughout the long recovery process," said a GoFundMe page set up on behalf of the family.