By Press Release
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Fatality in vehicle accident


September 19, 2019

On September 16th at approximately 3:48 PM Pine County dispatch received a 911 call reporting a vehicle in the Kettle River near the city of Willow River. The caller indicated people in the water and that someone was still believed to be inside the vehicle. Law enforcement as well as fire and EMS were dispatched to the scene. A staging area was set up at a “day use” area off Willow Street.

First arriving deputies were able to confirm that the driver and one passenger were able to get out of the vehicle after it went into the river. One passenger was still unaccounted for and believed to still be in the vehicle. A dive team from the Stacy/Lent Fire Department was called for and responded to the scene.

Dive team members were able to locate the submerged vehicle in about 14 feet of water. The unaccounted for passenger was recovered from the vehicle shortly after 6:00 PM. The driver and first passenger were not transported to the hospital. The driver, a 43 year old male, was subsequently arrested and booked on a preliminary charge of criminal vehicular operation. Formal charges may come after review of the reports by the Pine County Attorney. The first passenger who was able to get out of the water was a 48 year old male. The deceased was a 47 year old male. All of the occupants were from the Pine County area.

The vehicle, a Ford Escape, was recovered from the water.

The deceased male was transported to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy. No names are being released at this time pending notification of family and the autopsy.

The following agencies assisted in the incident: Pine County Sheriff’s Office, Willow River Fire Dept., Sturgeon Lake Fire Department, Moose Lake Fire Department, Stacy/Lent Fire Department Dive Team, Moose Lake Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol, Mercy Ambulance, Essentia Ambulance, and Deep Rock Towing and Recovery.

This case is considered an active investigation still at this time and additional information may be released at a later time.


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