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13-Year-Old Killed On Snowmobile

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COON RAPIDS, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — A 13-year-old boy was killed after his snowmobile launched and hit a group of trees in Sherburne County.

According to the county sheriff’s department, Mitchell Johnson, of Coon Rapids, Minn., was driving a snowmobile near the Sand Dunes State Forest parking lot in Orrock Township Sunday afternoon.

The sheriff’s department said it appeared Johnson was crossing the lot when he came upon a snow bank.

His snowmobile left the ground and landed at a high rate of speed. Johnson crashed into trees after landing.

Rescue crews arrived at the scene. They found Johnson unconscious. He had sustained head injuries. Crews attempted to perform CPR, but he was pronounced dead a short time later.

He was wearing a helmet and did have a snowmobile license. His family doesn’t agree with the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office’s report, saying Johnson wasn’t going too fast and was not operating the snowmobile carelessly. They say he simply hit a bump and went airborne.

Johnson was a student at Coon Rapids Middle School where they are grieving the loss of a classmate.

“Of course close friends are very sad,” said Dr. Annette Ziegler, the school principal. “We’re all very sad. It’s a huge, tragic loss for our school and our school community.”

Teachers and grief counselors were there to help, but their only comfort may have been how it happened.

“Kids right away talked about how much he adored being a part of snowmobiling and doing those things,” said Ziegler.

In another fatal Minnesota snowmobile accident over the weekend, 31-year-old Christopher Ebensteiner, of Sartell, was killed when two snowmobiles collided on a frozen lake in Mahnomen County on Saturday.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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