See more of the story

A 20-year-old snowmobiler had been drinking on a darkened lake when he ran over and critically injured his friend, according to charges filed Monday in southern Minnesota.

Dennis D. Krenz, 20, of Faribault, was charged in Rice County District Court with six felony counts of criminal vehicular operation and misdemeanor underage drinking and driving in connection with the crash Friday night on Cannon Lake. Coy Kreger, 23, is in HCMC with life-threatening injuries; he remained in critical condition Monday afternoon, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Krenz appeared in court and was released after posting bond ahead of a Jan. 26 court appearance. Contact information for Krenz was not immediately available. Kreger’s fiancée, Kelly O’Brien, said in a posting on a GoFundMe fundraising page that he likely “will remain in the hospital for many weeks and months to come” while being treated for compound fractures in both legs, broken facial bones and severe brain injuries.

O’Brien, engaged to marry Kreger in August, described him as “a fighter [who] has shown positive signs over the course of the past couple of days by moving his hands and arms in response to me and his family.”

County Attorney John Fossum said that the two friends were among a group ice fishing on the lake southwest of Faribault when Krenz, who didn’t have a headlight turned on, hit Kreger and sent him flipping over the snowmobile and landing on his head. Faribault fire and rescue personnel used a civilian’s snowmobile and icehouse sled to reach Kreger in the middle of the lake.

According to the criminal complaint:

Witnesses said Krenz had left where the group was fishing on the snowmobile.

He soon returned at 50 to 60 miles per hour, and his headlight was off when he hit Kreger.

Krenz told a sheriff’s deputy that he was traveling 20 mph and his headlight was flickering.

The deputy noticed an odor of alcohol from Krenz and asked him how much he had to drink. Krenz said he had a couple of beers around 5 p.m.

A preliminary breath test measured his blood alcohol content at 0.032%.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482