Parents of boy killed in Chisago Lake snowmobile crash share emotional testimony

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Alan Geisenkoetter, 8, was struck by a snowmobile and later died of his injuries. 

It was an emotional day in court for the parents of "Little" Alan Geisenkoetter as the trial began for the snowmobile driver who crashed into their son.

The boy’s parents were the first witnesses to take the stand in the trial, describing the horrors of Jan. 26 on Chisago Lake. The family was out for a fun Friday evening of ice fishing when the nightmare unfolded.

An allegedly drunken Eric Coleman on his snowmobile would plow into the family's set up. Alan Geisenkoetter Sr. ended up battered and bruised as a result of the crash, but his son took the worst of it. The eight-year-old had his legs mangled and suffered a traumatic brain injury. The family pulled him off life support five days later.

On the witness stand Friday, Alan Geisenkoetter Sr. described the moment of impact like “a bomb went off, in a split second, everything changes.”

The jury also listened to Ellie Geisenkoetter’s frantic 911 call as she searched the dark ice surface for her son, who was dragged by Coleman’s snowmobile a good distance away, and then her helplessness standing over her lifeless child.

The defense concedes Coleman drove drunk; his blood alcohol level was .165 hours after the crash. His attorneys promise he will testify in his own defense later in the trial to take responsibility for his actions.

Defense attorney Michael Berger explained during his opening statement Coleman is only guilty of criminal vehicular homicide - not the top count of 3rd degree murder. There’s a potential 10-year difference in prison sentence if convicted.

“He’s an alcoholic,” said Berger. “He has driven drunk. Eric Coleman killed Little Alan, but a tragedy isn’t murder.”

The trial continues on Monday.