A 76-year-old man has died after getting into a rollover crash with his two sons while they were on their way to look for their cats following a house fire in southern Minnesota.
Dan Schoneck, a family friend, confirmed to Bring Me The News on Thursday Joe Mazurkiewicz was taken off life support and has died.
Joe and his two sons, 39-year-old Robert and 29-year-old Shawn, were at their Minnesota Lake home on Saturday night when it started on fire around 11:30 p.m.
The blaze severely damaged their home, and their three cats were nowhere to be found.
According to a Go Fund Me Schoneck started to benefit the Mazurkiewicz family, Schoneck put them up in a hotel in Mankato for the night and on Sunday, Feb. 13, the family was headed back to their house to look for their missing cats.
En route to their home, Joe apparently lost consciousness for unknown reasons while driving southbound on Highway 22 in Mapleton Township. He drifted off to the left and went into the ditch, and the vehicle rolled, the Minnesota State Patrol and Go Fund Me state.
Before they crashed, Rob had unbuckled his seatbelt and tried to grab the steering wheel before they went off the road, the Go Fund Me says. They ended up hitting a "large cement culvert and small embankment at the top side of the ditch," which caused the vehicle to roll several times.
Joe was airlifted to St. Mary's in Rochester and was put on life support. It was confirmed that he passed away on Thursday.
Robert was taken via ambulance to Mayo Hospital Mankato before being taken to St. Mary's to be treated for "a broken back, broken ribs and a shattered shoulder," the Go Fund Me states. He already suffered from chronic pain and was "pretty much couch and bedridden" prior to the crash.
Shawn wasn't hurt in the crash.
"All of this chaos happened within 13 hours of each other, from one terrible incident to the next that is just as heartbreaking," Schoneck wrote in the Go Fund Me. "What the fire did not ruin in the house is now covered in 2 inches of ice as the fire departments sprayed water on the house for five hours straight. Total loss of every single thing they owned."
One of the family's cats has been found. Schoneck told BMTN a police officer broke a window in the basement and put a board down so the cat could crawl out.
The Go Fund Me is raising money to help the Mazurkiewicz family, with Schoneck noting Shawn and Robert are "two of the most caring people I know. ... Any help you could give will be appreciated more than you will ever know."
As of Thursday afternoon, the page had raised $20,719.
People can also donate to the Mazurkiewicz family fund via an account set up with CCF Banks or by mailing a check to P.O. Box 21, Minnesota Lake, MN 56068.