In a heartbreaking internet post, the family of Alan Geisenkoetter Jr., the 8-year-old boy struck last week by an allegedly drunk snowmobiler, said Wednesday night that he has died.
Alan’s mother, Eleanor, wrote on CaringBridge.org that, “Life changed today … Alan’s brain damage was way worse than any of us thought. There was never a day we thought we would have to make a decision like this, the hardest decision we’ve ever made. Little Alan got his angel wings today.”
About 8 p.m. Friday, the boy and his family were preparing to go icefishing on the north end of Chisago Lake when a snowmobiler roared through an occupied icehouse and clipped the family’s pickup truck. The sled dragged Alan out of the truck’s bed and across the ice, critically injuring him.
He suffered “significant swelling” of his brain, a bruised lung and many broken bones, according to his CaringBridge site, which was started by his aunt, Alison Cromie.
His mother and younger sister were also in the pickup, but were not hurt. His father, who was setting up a portable icehouse nearby, was also hurt, but not severely, Cromie wrote.
The boy’s CaringBridge site said he had “recently been obsessed with snowmobiles and went to the back of their truck to see it as it went by.”
The snowmobiler, Eric Joseph Coleman, 45, of Chisago City, who also was injured and hospitalized, admitted that he had been drinking and was arrested, the Chisago Sheriff’s Office said.
Coleman was charged Monday in Chisago County District Court with one felony count of criminal vehicular operation, great bodily harm; another gross misdemeanor count of criminal vehicular operation, and gross misdemeanor drunken driving.
His bail was set Tuesday at $200,000 without conditions or $75,000 with conditions. It was not clear Wednesday whether he was still in jail.
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 adds that drivers with an alcohol concentration of .08 or more could be charged with a felony.
Cromie said on CaringBridge that Alan Jr. was in the second grade. She described him as a “very bright and helpful little guy.”
Pat Pheifer • 612-673-7252