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close a loophole that allows those convicted of DWI to still use a snowmobile or ATV even if their driving license has been revoked.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snowmobile had not only been drinking at the time, he had three previous DWI convictions and his driver's license had been revoked on three occasions.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

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 10.38.41 PM

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem dead at 68

His office announced he had passed away 'unexpectedly' Friday.

Karl-Anthony Towns, Chris Finch

Suns get hot, Timberwolves fall in Phoenix

A scorching performance in the fourth quarter sent the Wolves to a loss in the desert.

Mats Zuccarello

Zuccarello helps Wild spoil Lundqvist's retirement party

After Henrik Lundqvist's jersey was hung to the rafters, Zuccarello led a 3-2 win.

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 5.04.00 PM

David Arquette gives shoutout to MN's F1rst Wrestling on James Corden show

The Hollywood actor wrestled at at a F1rst Wrestling show at First Avenue in early 2019.

Best Buy - jjbers, Flickr

6 charged in Black Friday mass thefts at Twin Cities Best Buys

The group stole from three Best Buy stores that afternoon, the charges say.

Nicollet County Bell Jan 2022 4

Thieves steal large bell from rural MN church, don't get far with it

The bell was found in a ditch with tow ropes around it.


COVID: More help coming to Minnesota hospitals, Walz says

More than 200 medical professionals are coming to help at short-staffed hospitals.

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 9.04.12 AM

Suspect arrested after falling asleep in vehicle at rest stop

The man was sleeping in a stolen vehicle in the parking lot of an I-94 rest area.

DOminos pizza flickr mr blue maumau

Charges: Edina man threatened to shoot up Domino's Pizza

He claimed a delivery driver had flipped him off, the charges say.

carvana vending machine

Carvana seeking to build vehicle vending machine in Twin Cities

The online car dealership submitted a letter of intent to buy land in the metro to build a fulfillment center.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Coller: New Vikings GM Adofo-Mensah needs to be ruthless

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah needs to make some big, difficult decisions, writes Matthew Coller.

Patrick Graham

Report: Vikings to interview Giants' Patrick Graham for head coach

Graham coached with the Patriots under Bill Belichick for six years.


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.