CHASKA, Minn. (WCCO) — A Minnesota snowmobiler, who called a friend Tuesday morning to say he’d broken his arm in a crash, may not have known his injuries were much worse.

Dan Schleuter, 26, was found two hours after he made that call from a trail in Chaska. He later died at the Hennepin County Medical Center.

Mark Bartusch had received the call. He lived with Schleuter and his new wife.

He says aside from his new bride, Schleuter had two loves: snowmobiling and dirt-biking. He even used his snowmobile to commute to work from Carver to Chaska.

“Dan’s been through his share of accidents on different recreational vehicles and everything else, but that’s what he loved,” Bartusch said.

And that is how he died.

“He called me,” Bartusch said. “Instead of calling 911, he called me.”

Schleuter was able to say a few words. He told Bartusch that he had crashed and broken his arm.

Bartusch says he woke up Dan’s wife after getting the call, and they got family to help them look for Schleuter. After about an hour, they called 911, and 30 minutes after that, police found Schleuter. He later died at the hospital.

It’s not clear how he was able to call a friend after being hurt so badly, but it seems Schleuter was a man who held it together to the bitter end.

“There’s no doubt he fought as hard as he could today, just didn’t work out,” Bartusch said.

Chaska police Chief Scott Knight says although people typically snowmobile in the park where Schleuter crashed, it’s against ordinance.

The chief says Schleuter did have signs of early hypothermia, but it was the injuries from the crash that killed him.

Police said earlier Tuesday that Schleuter had crashed into an obstruction, which may have been a tree or a fallen tree.

Bartusch says they plan to start working on a memorial over the next few days.


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