Dr. Daniel Schnobrich worked the occasional night shift at a Minneapolis hospital because it allowed him to spend more time with his three young children, coaching them and being at their activities.
But his drive to work one night last week turned deadly when a man with a lengthy criminal driving history crashed into his vehicle.
Schnobrich was heading from his Arden Hills home to M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center when a speeding SUV hit his Toyota sedan with such force that it shredded the doctor's car.
Schnobrich, a pediatric and palliative doctor who taught at the U's School of Medicine, died less than five hours later.
The other driver, Norman D. Toney, 34, of St. Paul, was charged in Ramsey County District Court last week with criminal vehicular homicide and second-degree manslaughter in connection with the collision on Nov. 9 that killed Schnobrich, 40.
As someone who embraced physical activity, Schnobrich encouraged the same in his children, all under age 10, his father Jeff Schnobrich said. Daniel Schnobrich coached them all on the same T-ball team this past summer and had the kids signed up for cross-country skiing in anticipation of that first enduring snowfall.
"Part of the reason he did overnights was so he could spend more time with the kids," the doctor's father said.
"All of our lives have changed," Jeff Schnobrich said. "Now we've got to figure out how we go on without him."
Toney was driving while his license was suspended, the state Department of Public Safety said Monday. His criminal history in Minnesota includes two convictions for drunken driving, three for driving after his license was revoked and one for speeding.
At the time of the crash, Schnobrich was working at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital and was an associate professor at the U's Medical School.
He traveled to Tanzania several times to "care for those with limited medical resources," according to his online obituary. While there, he hiked Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak.
He completed marathons, Ironman triathlons and the American Birkebeiner ski event.
"He loved pushing himself to the absolute limits" and did his first Ironman competition while carrying the burden of studying medicine, Jeff Schnobrich said.
"I don't know how you do that when you are in med school," his father said. "He called me [one day] and said he had just biked from Chicago to Milwaukee [roughly 90 miles] and back as part of his training."
According to the criminal complaint against Toney:
On the night of the crash, sheriff's deputies were dispatched about 8:40 p.m. to W. Hwy. 96 and Hamline Avenue, where they saw Schnobrich's car, with its driver's door sheared off and the "engine block hanging out of the passenger side," the charges read.
Schnobrich had his seat belt on, but his car "was struck with such force that the seat belt buckle broke, causing him to be ejected," the complaint said.
One of the deputies saw Toney running from the intersection toward a pond. Toney refused the deputy's orders and was tackled to the ground.
Toney and Schnobrich were taken by emergency responders to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. Schnobrich died about 1:20 a.m. on Nov. 10. Toney declined to be interviewed by authorities and was booked into jail. He appeared in court Monday and remains held without bail. Toney is due back in court on Dec. 29. Court records do not list an attorney for him.
Witnesses told law enforcement that Toney appeared to be "high or under the influence" of drugs. They saw him running back and forth from Schnobrich's car to the pond and not responding to bystanders' questions.
A woman who was driving in the area said she saw a car speeding past her on Hamline toward Hwy. 96 before hearing a loud boom and seeing a flash of flames. Toney's car landed on its roof and submerged in the pond. The car was towed out of the pond; its speedometer was stuck at 103 mph.
A few minutes before the crash, a police officer in Roseville spotted Toney's car weaving through traffic on northbound Snelling Avenue and estimated its speed at 95 mph. The officer turned on his squad lights but soon lost sight of the car.
Schnobrich graduated from Waconia High School in 1999 as a National Merit Scholar, studied biochemistry at Iowa State University, attended University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and completed his residency at the University of Minnesota.
"He knew what he wanted to be in his early teen years," Jeff Schnobrich said of his son. "And he did the things he needed to do make that possible."
In a statement released Monday, medical school spokesperson Kat Dodge said, "Dr. Dan Schnobrich was an outstanding physician and faculty member and a beloved member of our community, as evidenced by the outpouring of grief from all who knew him in the U of M Medical School and M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center. ... He was a familiar figure and universally admired."
Schnobrich's survivors include his wife, Rachel, and their three children. A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at Glen Haven Chapel, 5125 W. Broadway, Crystal, with visitation from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482