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Cars plunging through ice on Lake Minnetonka

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Despite some of the most bitter subzero weather the Twin Cities has had in several years, seven cars in separate incidents have plunged through the ice on Lake Minnetonka since Friday, WCCO reports.

In six of the cases, 15 people scrambled to safety, WCCO says. The ice is not as think as drivers might think, particularly around channels, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek told WCCO. Another factor has been alcohol. Two people have been arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

“People think, you got a dozen inches of ice, you can go where you want to go. That’s just simply not the case,” Stanek said.

In the seventh case, the vehicle carrying a family of four fell into the icy water Friday. Eight-month-old Tabitha Markle of Minnetrista died at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis early Monday. The vehicle driven by her father had dropped through the ice on the lake in the channel between Priest and Halstead bays. She was under water for about 15 minutes. The driver, his wife, and their 2-year-old survived.

Stanek has said there were indications the father had been drinking, but definitive blood-alcohol-level test results are pending.

The Star Tribune on Wednesday has a graphic that offers basic info on ice safety.

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