LINO LAKES, Minn. (WCCO) — One person was killed in a snowmobile crash in Anoka County early Thursday morning.
The crash happened on the 6500 block of West Shadow Lake Drive in Lino Lakes, near Reshanau Lake. According to police, two people were on a snowmobile when it crashed into a tree around 1:30 a.m.
Twenty-five-year-old Johnny Erik Brandenburger was killed in the crash. Adrianne Marie Knotz, also 25, was injured with multiple fractures and taken to Regions Hospital where she is listed in serious condition
A second snowmobile was involved but didn’t crash.
Witnesses said Brandenburger was with a group of friends at a local bar when the group decided to leave and go to a residence on Shadow Lake Drive in Lino Lakes.
They say the group had been drinking prior to leaving the bar and that Brandenburger gave his helmet to Knotz and the two left on the snowmobile.
Witnesses told police the snowmobile was traveling on the east shoreline of Rahanau Lake when it went airborne and struck a tree. The impact severed the tree at its base.
“They were coming across the lake and coming off of the lake and something happened in that area,” said Lino Lakes Police Chief Kent Strege.”It looks like the snowmobile itself did strike a tree but unsure where in the total process and mechanism that happened.”
Brandenburger brother Mike said Brandenburger graduated from Centennial High School in 2003 and was set to graduate from culinary school this spring.
Family friends called him a happy guy who loved the outdoors, particularly fishing and snowmobiling, and he was often on the lake behind his parent’s home.
No official determination has been made to Brandenburger’s blood alcohol level or whether that is a factor in this case.
The accident remains under investigation. Brandenburger is the eighth person to die in a snowmobile crash this winter. Just under a hundred people were hurt this season in snowmobile crashes.
A fund has been established in his name at the culinary school at St. Paul College.