Bill Seeks To Toughen DWI Penalties To Include Snowmobile, ATV Privileges

Lawmakers cracking down on drunk drivers — snowmobiles and ATVs

Pat Kessler via  WCCO  Minneapolis, Minn.

Minnesota lawmakers are cracking down on drunk drivers — on snowmobiles and ATVs.

The move comes after a drunk snowmobile driver killed a Chisago County boy in January who was out ice fishing with his father.

The case sparked outrage around the state.

Because of a loophole in the law, a drunk driver in a car or truck can still operate a snowmobile or ATV.

Eight-year-old Alan Geisenkoetter Jr. died five days after he went ice fishing with his parents on Chisago Lake in January.

He was struck by a snowmobile moving at high speeds. The driver of the vehicle had been drinking, authorities say.

What made the case even worse: The snowmobile driver had previous DWIs, and his driver’s license had been revoked three times.

“This shouldn’t happen! This just shouldn’t happen,” said state Rep. Anne Neu (R – North Branch). “This man should never have been on a snowmobile to begin with.”

Neu is now sponsoring a bill to toughen up laws on outdoor vehicles.

It would revoke the driving privileges for a snowmobile or ATV for one year for any person who commits a DWI offense in any vehicle, including cars and trucks.

“There’s been an outpouring of support in our community for the family of this little boy,” she said. “Everyone is of course shocked and horrified that this could happen.”