MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Investigators are trying to determine what caused a fatal boat crash on the Mississippi River.

The incident happened just before 4 p.m. Thursday near Mississippi Point Park in Champlin.

Lorne Jon Lindberg, 72, of Coon Rapids, died on scene, and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s office stressed again on Friday that he was alone when he crashed. There had been reports that he had had another passenger with him, but that was not the case.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner said he died of blunt force injuries.

Witnesses said Lindberg had been known to drive his boat at high speeds on the river before. Even so, Thursday’s crash came as a shock to many.

“I was here when the police came zooming down,” neighbor Shashel Lepinski said.

Neighbors living along the river are used to the sound of boats speeding down the waterway. What they aren’t used to is hearing and seeing police cars in their own backyard.

“Then I heard a bunch of sirens and came out. And I walked down there and I could see his boat overturned in the water out there,” neighbor Steve Steele said.

After the crash, witnesses pulled Lindberg from the river and attempted CPR until first responders arrived, but he died on scene.

“They are very nice and they don’t do anything bad. They just go really fast two times usually — up-down, up-down. Then they go,” Lepinski said.

Lepinski and others said over the course of the summer they’ve seen two men drive their speedboats up and down the stretch of the river. While they go fast, neighbors said they don’t race and they don’t put anyone else in danger.

“They don’t go side-by-side. One is usually ahead and that’s how they do it. They don’t do it to get in the way of people,” Lepinski said.

While authorities investigate what happened, it appears part of the front of Lindberg’s boat was missing when it was pulled from the river.

“The guy comes out here on this boat to have a little fun and ends up losing his life. It’s very tragic,” Steele said.

 

John Lauritsen

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