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.

A fund has been established in his name at the culinary school.
Comments (17)
  1. CJ says:

    Is the photo from the accident scene or is it a stock photo or art attached to the news story to make is more interesting? Being somewhat of an expert on snow, I can tell you that the photo is not of any snow we have today. Basic journalism is missing here.

    1. Jennifer Da Costa says:

      Who cares about the picture? 1 person is dead and another one hurt. Basic human skill is missing here.

    2. truth hurts says:


    3. captainobvious says:

      wow your bright, actually that is an actual photo that is his sled being pulled up the bank, they just showed a live clip on chl 5, that included this still shot, so that was great reporting by you, put a feather in your cap, well done stump!

  2. james says:

    yeah cj we know its not a pic from today but you have to think people know him and i am one of his friends so try not to be so rude to the fact of his death cause karma is a bad thing to be waitin on

  3. Heidi says:

    WOW CJ!!!! A person is dead and someone else is injured and you post a dumb comment about what kind of a picture is posted?? Are you severly dysfunctional or something??? Do you go around news websites and criticize every posting that doesn’t have an accurate picture? Maybe, just maybe, they didn’t want to post a picture of the accident scene. Show a little respect you freak!

  4. WOW! Cool down people! says:

    Jeez guys Lay off CJ..he is JUST asking a question!!!! The pic MAY be from today……He was NOT being disrespectful….he was just noting the picture didn;t add up to info listed in the story…it has NOTHING to due with the victims!

  5. PJO says:

    I feel sorry for the family and friends of John Brandenburger. I also feel sorrry for Adrianne Knotz, her family and friends, I hope she makes a full and speedy recovery. Here’s one thing I don’t understand, if he was riding why was he drinking? I never drink and drive. It doesn’t matter if I’m behind the wheel of my car, on my motorcycle or on my snowmobile, I just don’t operate a motorized vehicle after I’ve been drinking, I just don’t take the chance

  6. JP says:

    Such a tragic event. My heart goes out to the family and friends of John.

  7. sad but true says:

    You know this is difficult, because i feel ive dodged this a few times i stopped riding 2 years ago, me and a group of friends used to drink and ride every weekend, its just so fun to bar hop on sleds, but a snowmobile is just like a motorcycle 0-100 right now… stories like this make me reflect on how foolish and lucky i was.

  8. sandy says:

    I think this would be very hard. I could only think what his friends and family might be thinking right now. I’m telling u that u and your family are in my prays.

  9. cullinary class says:

    CCOrep you are the idiot it is people like you who should be stripped of thier right to breed. Heartless inconsideration is intentional not like the mistake my friend john made last night. I truely hope you dont have children or god help us all.

    1. GTK says:

      CCOrep How are you still in this gene pool ! TASTLESS IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Amd says:

    If he was drinking and riding he did her a favor and saved her life possibly by giving her his helmet. Sad time for both families and friends.looks like he had a lot ahead of him.

  11. Sarah says:

    My thoughts are with the family!

  12. Kelly M says:

    To PJO, I live right by the bar they were talking about, drinking and having your snowmobile with you is such a regular occurrence, it’s sad. I don’t know how many times I have driven past there at night and seen several snowmobiles parked out front.

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