MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A jury has found a Chisago City man guilty of murder in a snowmobile crash that killed a young boy earlier this year.

Eric Coleman, 45, slammed into 8-year-old Alan Geisenkoetter Jr. and his father while driving a snowmobile as they were setting up an ice house on January 26. The boy died less than a week later.

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Coleman’s blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

Alan Geisenkoetter Jr. (credit: CBS)

Alan Geisenkoetter Sr., the boy’s father, calls this guilty verdict “bittersweet,” saying they had to give one life for another.

“At least he is off the streets, he can’t do this to anybody else,” Geisenkoetter Sr. said.

Coleman admitted he had been drinking, and his driver’s license was revoked three times before the fatal crash — yet a legal loophole allowed him to operate a snowmobile. That was closed by state legislators, who passed Little Alan’s Law this year.

Now, Minnesota residents who get a DWI while driving a car will not be able to drive an ATV, snowmobile or other off-road vehicles.

“It’s a tough situation,” said Mike Berger, Coleman’s defense attorney. “That was one of the things that Eric said even as we were walking in for the verdict, was that he was glad to know that there’d be closure for everyone involved.”

Sentencing in this case will take place on February 7, 2019.

Of the seven charges Coleman was found guilty of, the third-degree murder charge alone carries a maximum penalty of more than 12 years in prison.

Mary McGuire

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