Driver of SUV that fell through ice suspected of drinking, baby still critical

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Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek says the father driving an SUV that went through the ice on Lake Minnetonka may have been drinking, the Star Tribune reports.

On Friday evening, 41-year-old Jonathan Markle was driving with his wife, 31-year-old Amanda, and their two daughters, 2-year-old Isabelle and 9-month-old Tabitha.

The family was on their way home to Minnetrista when Jonathan Markle decided to take a shortcut across a Lake Minnetonka channel.

The vehicle reportedly fell through the ice under the Halstead Bay Bridge on the western side of the lake around 5 p.m. The Lake Minnetonka Patch says a volunteer Mound firefighter who lives on the lake was first to reach the scene and provided first aid to the rescued passengers.

Baby Tabitha, who was strapped in a car seat and underwater for about 15 minutes, was airlifted to Children's Hospital and remains in critical condition. The rest of the family members were treated and released from Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia Friday night.

Stanek says there are indications that the driver had been drinking, but definitive blood-alcohol-level test results are pending.

The Patch says Jonathan Markle was not arrested, but could face charges.

The Sheriff’s Office told the public last week that a thin ice advisory was in effect for all bodies of water in the county. WCCO says three cars, including the SUV, fell through the ice Friday night.

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