Judge strikes down plea attempt for snowmobiler who killed eight-year-old

After failing to come to a plea agreement, the case of an allegedly drunken snowmobiler who fatally struck a young boy in Chisago County is headed to trial. 

Eric Coleman tried to plead guilty to six counts in the death of Alan Geisenkoetter last winter, but a judge rejected that attempt.

Friday marked what would have been Little Alan’s ninth birthday. Instead of enjoying a party, his family looked on in the courtroom, fighting for justice.

“Seeing him for first time today was really difficult and extremely difficult for all the family members,” said Mary Beth Lonnee, Alan’s grandma.

According to the charges, Coleman was allegedly drunk on his snowmobile last winter when he hit Little Alan, who was out with his family for ice fishing on Chisago Lake.

Coleman was charged with seven counts, including third degree murder. 

In court, he and his defense team tried to enter guilty pleas on all of the charges except the murder count. Prosecutors objected and the judge agreed. The trial is set to start Dec. 5.

“Immediately after the incident occurred, Eric was wanting to take responsibility for what happened and a lot of what has gone on with the litigation has all surrounded the top count of third degree murder and our firm belief that it is criminal vehicular homicide, but it’s not murder,” said Peter Berger, the defense attorney.

The deadly crash actually led to a law change in Minnesota, barring drunk drivers with suspended motor vehicle licenses from legally operating ATVs, boats and snowmobiles.