A man with a long history of drinking and driving was charged Monday with being intoxicated when he drove a snowmobile into a family on Chisago Lake over the weekend, leaving an 8-year-old fighting for his life.
Eric J. Coleman, 45, who lives in Chisago City roughly a mile from the crash scene, was charged in Chisago County District Court with two counts of criminal vehicular operation and drunken driving.
Charges say his snowmobile clipped the family's pickup truck with the boy in the back Friday night and then struck the boy's father, who was setting up an icehouse on the northern portion of the lake.
Alan Geisenkoetter Jr. has yet to regain consciousness, has several broken bones and had a portion of his skull removed in an effort to ease swelling on the brain.
Coleman and the boy's father, Alan Geisenkoetter Sr., 43, were less seriously injured, but both remained hospitalized Monday night. The boy's mother and a sister were in the pickup and were not hurt.
Charges against Coleman detail a chronic pattern of drinking and driving, most recently in November in Anoka County, where he was involved in a crash. His blood alcohol content in the incident was measured at 0.30 percent, nearly four times the legal limit for driving in Minnesota.
That charge prompted the state to revoke Coleman's license. His vehicle also has an ignition locking system meant to prevent him from driving after drinking, the criminal complaint read.
Coleman's other drunken driving convictions came in 2009 in Ramsey County and more than 20 years ago in Anoka County.
A sheriff's sergeant at the scene Friday night spoke with Coleman, whose eyes were bloodshot and watery, according to the charges. He acknowledged that he had been drinking that evening, the court filing continued. He refused to take a preliminary breath test, and later had his blood drawn at the hospital for testing.
The boy's mother, Ellie Geisenkoetter, said on the CaringBridge website Sunday night that "Alan is stable and fighting so hard. … It's all just a waiting game until his brain swelling decreases."
The family was on the lake 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 said her son "was dragged across the ice, and many people on the lake came to help while they waited for first responders."
One angler on the ice, Kristian Lee Luger-Grass, said on Facebook that he estimated that Coleman was "driving 90 miles an hour when he goes right through" the icehouse.
Along with the drunken driving convictions, Coleman's record includes four convictions for speeding and one for driving after his license was revoked.