A college soccer coach was killed in a single-vehicle crash in northeast Minnesota on Sunday morning.
Lake Superior College, a public community college in Duluth, confirmed Monday that assistant soccer coach Anthony L. Makela III died in the crash.
"We lost not only a coach, but a friend and mentor to our student-athletes," head coach Anthony Wood said in a release.
The 30-year-old was the lone occupant found dead inside a vehicle that was severely damaged in a ditch on the 5400 block of Jean Duluth Road north of Duluth on Sunday morning. The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office was alerted to what a 911 caller believed to be an abandoned vehicle, but deputies arrived at the scene to find Makela. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The sheriff's office believes Makela, who was known as "Tony," was traveling north on Jean Duluth Road when he went into the ditch, hit an embankment and went airborne, then struck two trees about 15 feet off the ground before the vehicle came to a rest on its roof.
"Tony was hired as the assistant coach of the LSC men's soccer team prior to the 2019 season and helped guide the IceHawks into the NJCAA Regional Playoffs in his first season," a release from the college said.
The release said Makela was part of a coaching staff that was "planning to build off the positive momentum from last season this year, prior to the league canceling the fall season due to COVID-19."
"Even though the IceHawks' season was postponed at least until spring, and possibly canceled, Tony was still actively reaching out to student-athletes to ensure they remained successfully engaged in school and were staying physically active. He will be missed by many," the college added.
The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office said alcohol was a factor and that Makela was not wearing a seatbelt. There were three other fatal crashes on Minnesota roads on Sunday morning. Details can be found here.