A Maplewood man is accused of being drunk driving a pontoon boat when his friend fell overboard and died on a northern Minnesota lake.
The incident on Big Sandy Lake was reported to police at 11:37 p.m. last Friday, June 11, when 34-year-old Nathen Norman Waldo, of North Branch, fell overboard.
The driver of the boat, Joshua Harvey, 32, of Maplewood, told police that Waldo was "walking to the front of the boat when he fell" and went under the pontoon, with Harvey saying he "felt the motor hit" Waldo.
Harvey circled the pontoon back as he and four other friends tried to find Waldo, and after searching about 15-20 minutes they called 911.
Responders arrived to find the five men "visibly upset" on the pontoon. Waldo's body was found just after 5 p.m. the next evening.
When a deputy arrived on the scene, he noted that Harvey's "speech was slurred and his eyes were red and watery," while another could smell "a strong odor of an alcoholic beverages emitting from defendant’s breath."
Harvey admitted he had been drinking, but he refused to perform a breath test, leading to his arrest at the scene, with a warrant later obtained for a blood test.
When police lifted the pontoon out of water, it was noted that there was damaged to the aluminum prop, with a sergeant finding "a small amount of a dark material caught in one of the gouges on the prop."
One of the other men on the pontoon said they had been at the Hill Crest Resort on Big Sandy Lake at 11:15 p.m., saying they had been having a "guys weekend" at a company-owned cabin to cheer up Waldo, who had been dealing with personal issues.
The friend said he was sitting with Waldo on pedestal seats at the front of the boat when Waldo stood up and "appeared to be going to say something." He "took a step, stumbled on one of the coolers located between the console and the L shaped lounge seat and fell overboard."
Another friend said the boat was rocked by a small wave as Waldo stumbled on the cooler.