Two separate snowmobile crashes in two days result in three dead

Two separate snowmobile crashes in two days have resulted in three dead across Minnesota.

A snowmobile crash in Isanti County in the early morning hours of New Year's Day left two dead Sunday morning.

According to the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office, at around 12:50 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2023, deputies responded to the report of a crash involving a snowmobile on the 2500 block of Paradise Trail NW.

Upon arrival police located an adult man and an adult woman involved in the crash. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, while the female was transported to Mercy Hospital, where she later died.

Hunter Melander, 21, of Cambridge, was identified as the man operating the snowmobile at the time of the crash. Faith Nelson, 21, also of Cambridge, was the passenger.

According to police, preliminary investigation indicates that the two went out onto Lake Francis on the snowmobile, and when exiting the lake, they struck a tree.

Agencies continue to investigate the crash. Preliminary information indicates that speed and impairment are possible contributing factors, according to the sheriff's office.

Zimmerman crash

On Dec. 31, the previous Saturday evening, a Zimmerman man also died when the snowmobile he was riding hit a driveway approach, causing him to become airborne, and rolling the snowmobile when it landed, according to the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office.

According to police, at around 5 p.m. a snowmobile being operated by David E. Stewart, 52, was traveling east in the ditch around Fremont Avenue and 13th Street West in Zimmerman, along Fremont Avenue, when he hit the approach. 

Stewart was not wearing a helmet and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police. 

Throughout 2021-22 there were six total fatalities that occurred from snowmobiling throughout Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).