1 dead, driver arrested after SUV goes into Kettle River

One person died after an SUV went into the Kettle River in eastern Minnesota Monday afternoon. The driver and another passenger escaped the vehicle, and deputies arrested the driver at the scene. 

The Pine County Sheriff’s Office said at 3:48 p.m., dispatch received a 911 call reporting a vehicle in the Kettle River near the city of Willow River with at least one person still believed to be inside. 

Deputies, fire crews and EMS responded to the day use area near the river off Willow Street. When deputies arrived, they learned the driver and one of the two passengers had been able to get out of the Ford Escape after it went into the river. The other passenger was unaccounted for and believed to still be in the vehicle. 

A dive team located the Escape submerged in 14 feet of water. The unaccounted for passenger was recovered from the vehicle shortly after 6 p.m. The passenger, a 47-year-old man from the Pine County area, was deceased.  

The driver, a 43-year-old man, and the other passenger, a 48-year-old man, both from the Pine County area, were not hurt. Deputies arrested the driver and booked him into jail on a preliminary charge of criminal vehicular operation. 

The medical examiner has not released the identity of the victim. 

The incident remains under investigation.