Skip to main content

After 8-year-old's death, an attempt to close DWI snowmobile loophole

Currently a driving ban doesn't lead to a snowmobile ban.

What's happening?

Lawmakers are attempting to close a loophole that allows those convicted of DWI to still use a snowmobile or ATV even if their driving license has been revoked.

The bills proposed this week would ban people convicted of any DWI offense from using snowmobiles or ATVs for a year.

That means a first-time DWI offender would be banned from driving a snowmobile for longer than they'd be banned from driving on roads. 

Currently a first DWI offense carries a 90-day driving ban, which can be reduced to 30 days with a guilty plea. 

Rep. Anne Neu, (R-North Branch), who is sponsoring the bill in the House, says the new law would close a loophole in Minnesota where those banned from driving are still allowed to operate off-road vehicles.

Her proposals would also eliminate the loophole that allows a first-time DWI offender to continue to drive if their first offense happened while using a boat or off-road vehicle.

The bills were approved in House and Senate committees this week.

Why the changes?

It stems from the tragic death of 8-year-old Alan Geisenkoetter Jr., who was struck by a snowmobile on Chisago Lake in January and died five days later.

The operator of that snowmobile had not only been drinking at the time, he had three previous DWI convictions and his driver's license had been revoked on three occasions.

The 45-year-old Eric J. Coleman is now facing murder charges relating to the boy's death.

The Pioneer Press reports that representatives of two snowmobile associations testified in favor of the law changes at the Capitol this week.

Also at the hearings was Geisenkoetter's grandfather, Al Geisenkoetter, who said: "They're lethal vehicles. There's no reason to treat them different," the Pioneer Press writes.

Next Up


Body found in burned out car near Bird Island identified as local farmer

The deceased is a 59-year-old man from rural Bird Island.

Screen Shot 2022-12-06 at 2.47.44 PM

Minneapolis' Khâluna named in Eater's 2022 'Best New Restaurants'

The restaurant, opened in 2021, is known for its Laotian cuisine.

ambulance, crash

3 pedestrians struck by drivers Monday in Minnesota; 2 dead

The victims involved a 39-year-old man and two 74-year-old men.

snow, plow

Shifting storm tracks: Significant storms Friday, next week?

Sven Sundgaard has the details on an interesting forecast.

Life Link

Worker suffers serious injury in rooftop fall in rural Minnesota

The man only fell a few feet, but suffered a serious leg injury.

Walz, Flanagan

Minnesota reports massive projected budget surplus of $17.6 billion

The huge surplus comes as the DFL prepares to assume a trifecta of the Legislature and the Governor's House.


Boil water advisory issued for part of Minneapolis after water main break

The main break caused significant flooding in an area of North Minneapolis Monday evening.


Deals struck between nursing union and hospitals, potentially averting strike

A strike was scheduled to start on Dec. 11 if a deal was not reached.

Minnesota Solar Installation - All Energy Solar

Make the Most of your Solar Panels with Energy Storage

Solar energy is great during the day, but what happens when the sun goes down?


Minnesota's new DWI law goes into effect August 1

"Little Alan's Law" is in memory of a child killed by a drunk snowmobiler.

MN woman, 'one of worst DUI offenders in the U.S.,' arrested in Illinois

The 41 year old from New Hope has drunk-driving convictions in 6 states.

A guy's 9th DWI arrest came on a lawnmower

Cops say he was driving erratically on a street.

Becker man killed after snowmobile lands on him

It's the latest in a series of snowmobile fatalities this year so far in Minnesota.

Daniel Thomas House

Man arrested for 19th DWI; he was going the wrong way on I-35

The man has 11 drunk driving arrests in Minnesota and eight in Wisconsin.

Man arrested for DWI in Twin Cities twice within 7 hours

He was arrested for driving drunk in Plymouth and Eden Prairie.

Catalytic converter theft

Police: Catalytic converter thief strikes again, gets 11th DWI

He was arrested in Hopkins this week for the second time.


As deaths mount, DNR stresses snowmobile safety in MN

Since the winter of 2017-18, there have been 18 snowmobile deaths in Minnesota.