Father Charged In Baby’s Drowning Death In Lake Minnetonka
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced charges Thursday for the father of a baby girl who died after the family’s SUV plunged through the ice on Lake Minnetonka last month.
County attorney Mike Freeman says the victim’s father, Jonathan Markle, is charged with criminal vehicular homicide.
According to Freeman, Markle had a blood alcohol content of .13 when the family’s Nissan Rogue broke through the ice between Halstead Bay and Priest Bay on the evening of Jan. 18.
Investigators say Markle admitted to having two beers at Lord Fletcher’s before the accident.
Freeman, however, doesn’t believe that.
“There’s just no way that two beers equals .13 for anyone that weighs over 65 pounds,” the county attorney said.
When the ice broke, Markle’s wife, Amanda, and the family’s two daughters — 2-year-old Isabelle and 8-month-old Tabitha – were in the SUV.
All but Tabitha managed to get out to safety.
Fifteen minutes after the car went under the frigid water, Tabitha was cut from her car seat by a dive team. She was then taken to the Ridgeview Waconia Hospital in critical condition, but died three days later.
“A young child died through the recklessness of her father,” said Freeman on Thursday. “These are very, very sad cases.”
This isn’t the first time Markle has faced charges. In 2004, he pleaded guilty to boating while intoxicated.
Freeman hopes other parents learn from Markle’s mistake.
“Nobody should ever drive through a channel,” Freeman said.
Markle has a court appearance slated for Friday. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office has begun a new campaign to remind people of the dangers of driving on lake ice. Already this winter, more than a dozen cars have fell through the ice on Lake Minnetonka.