Press Releases

News Release



On Tuesday July 31, 2018 at 9:11PM, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a report that 2 people and their dog were struck by lightning at the Fall Lake Campground.  The male and female, along with their dog, were sitting in their tent when lightning struck some nearby trees.  Both parties were transported by ambulance to the Ely Bloomenson Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.  The injuries to the dog were also non-life-threatening. 


On Sunday, June 10, 2018 at 3:41PM, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a possible drowning on Perent Lake, which is in northeast Lake County within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.   

The reporting party stated the 31 year old victim had been missing since 11:00PM on June 9.  The victim had been in a canoe that capsized with 2 occupants, neither of which were wearing life jackets.  It was reported that the victim never made it to shore.  The other occupant was able to swim to a rock where he was rescued by another camper who had heard someone yelling for help.

One Monday, June 11 at approximately 3:34PM, the body of Joseph Bennett Fedick, of Coon Rapids, MN, was recovered from the water within a couple hundred yards of their campsite.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Lake County and St. Louis County Search and Rescue teams, Forest Service Law Enforcement and sea plane pilot, and Border Patrol all responded to assist in the search.


On June 7, 2018 at 6:38 p.m., The Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an ATV accident at the intersection of Highway 3 and the West Castle Danger Road north of Two Harbors. 

The victim, Chad Blight, 41 years old, of Two Harbors, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Members from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Two Harbors Fire Department, Lake County Rescue Squad and Lake County Ambulance Service responded to the call. 

The incident is under investigation.


On May 23, 2018 at 12:10 PM, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a call reporting a female had shot herself on the beach near a Two Harbors resort.  The female, age 51, later died from her injuries.  This is still under investigation.  The name of the victim is being withheld until notification is made to family members.



On 05/08/2018 at 9am, another search for Tawhna Jolee Pringle was organized.  This search involved family and friends of Pringle, as well as Law Enforcement and Search and Rescue members.  During the search, at approximately 11:00am, Tawhna Pringle was found approximately 100 feet off the Dunka River Road and approximately 2.2 miles from where the truck was originally discovered on 02/07/2018.  There appears to be no foul play involved.  Pringle’s death was likely caused by hypothermia and exposure to the extreme cold.  An autopsy will be done to confirm.

December 19, 2017

At 1041 we received a 911 call from a residence on McDougal Lake in Isabella, off of Hwy 1.  The caller reported that a bear attacked some workers doing construction on a garage at a local residence.  When the bear attacked one of the workers, the other worker tried to help and was bitten on the arm.  The Ely Ambulance and Lake County Rescue Squad responded along with Lake County Deputies and Minnesota Conservation Officers.  Ely Ambulance transported the injured worker to the Ely Hospital.  

After the attack, the bear fled from the area.  We put out a Code Red emergency notification message to local residents in the McDougal Lake area advising that there was a bear in the area and it had attacked a person.  The Code Red also advised residents that if they saw the bear to stay clear of it and report the location to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.  Deputies and Conservation officers tracked the bear to a house nearby where they spoke to the home owner.  The homeowner said her husband, 68 year old Bill Vagts, had been attacked earlier by a bear that was attacking his dog.  The bear was then tracked from that residence directly to the residence where the original call came in, which was 150 yards away.  This was where 58 year old Daniel Boedeker from Winton, who sustained injuries in the attack, and 54 year old Gary Jerich from Winton, who was attacked but was not injured, were working.  The bear was located near that residence and was put down at 1207.  The bear was a female black bear, approximately 200 pounds.


November 25, 2017
On November 25, 2017 at 7:17 a.m., the Lake County Sheriff's Office received a call about a body that had washed up on the beach near Split Rock Lighthouse.  The person was later identified as 45-year old Derek Sigurd Hansen of Minnetonka, Minnesota.  It appears that Hansen drowned but circumstances involved with his death are still under investigation.  An autopsy will be conducted.

September 25, 2017
1:00 P.M.
Lake Superior Diving Fatality

On September 23, 2017 at 1:11 p.m., the Lake County Sheriff's Office received a call about a diver in distress at the Madeira Shipwreck Site on Lake Superior within Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.  Lake County Sheriff's Office Deputies and Rescue, along with Lake County Ambulance and MN DNR State Park Rangers, responded.  When deputies and ambulance personnel arrived, AARON TIMMERMAN, 42, of New Hope, MN, was unresponsive and CPR was in progress.  He was transported to a helicopter landing zone at Gooseberry Falls State Park where Two Harbors Fire Department was maintaining a landing site for Life Link Seven Medical Helicopter.  Upon examination by Life Link Staff and consultation with ER doctors, Timmerman was pronounced dead at 1410 hours at the landing zone.

Timmerman had been diving with a group on the Madeira Shipwreck.  Witnesses saw him surface and call for help.  No one was able to get to him before he went under.  He was located unresponsive on the bottom of Lake Superior by two members of his group.  They brought him to the surface.  Other divers brought him to shore and initiated CPR.

The incident is still under investigation.  The cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner.

For further information about the Madeira Shipwreck Site, contact Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.

September 10, 2017

On 09/10/2017 at 1301 hours, the Lake County Sheriff's Office received multiple 911 calls from Palisade Head, north of Silver Bay, MN along Lake Superior.  While visiting Palisade Head with friends, a 14 year old female accidentally fell over the top of the cliff.  The first ones down to her were some bystanders who repelled down the cliff to render first aid and perform life saving measures.  She was transported by Lifelink Helicopter to the hospital.  Unfortunately, we have received word that she passed away from her injuries.  Her name is being withheld pending notification to her family.

On 09/10/2017 at 1447 hours, the Lake County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from the Trestle Inn in Finland, MN of an ATV accident with injuries.  Finland Rescue, Silver Bay Rescue, Finland Fire and Lake County Ambulance and Lifelink all responded to the scene to perform life saving measures on Harold James Melde, of Duluth, MN.  Unfortunately, he has succumbed to his injuries.  His name is being withheld pending notification to family members.

August 30, 2017

On 08/30/17 at 11:46 a.m., the Lake County Sheriff's Office received a distress call from a spot locator within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with coordinates. Due to the remote location of those coordinates that are along the Kekekabic Trail, between Thomas and Hatchet Lakes, we have requested assistance from the Minnesota State Patrol Helicopters Flight Section to do a fly over of those coordinates to locate the parties and to determine their distress signal needs. Once this has been accomplished we will be able to update our press release with further information.

Carey G. Johnson, Sheriff
Lake County Sheriff’s Office
613 3rd Avenue
Two Harbors, MN. 55616
Phone (218) 834-8385
Fax (218) 834-8445

July 21, 2016

1:00 PM

Basswood Lake Rescue

On July 21, 2016 at 4:20 AM, Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a call about a severe weather related incident.  Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Rescue along with St. Louis County Rescue, Morse/Fall Lake Fire Department, the US Forest Service, Quetico Park Rangers, and Ontario Provincial Police responded.  There were two injuries and two fatalities.  The incident occurred on Basswood Lake in Quetico Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.  The injured people were transported by US Forest Service Airplane and Ely Ambulance to Ely Hospital.  The Ontario Provincial Police is investigating the incident.

For further information, contact the Ontario Provincial Police.

Contact:        Provincial Constable Jim Davis
                      Badge #12311
                      Media Relations Officer
                      Rainy River District Detachment

Phone:          (807) 597-2120
                      (807) 598-0966



October 22, 2015 at 1800 hours             

On 10-22-2015 at 1:58 PM, Lake County Dispatch received a call about a head-on collision on the Lax Lake Road in rural Lake County.  The crash involved a commercial vehicle and a passenger vehicle.  A 31 year old man died in the accident.  The name of the victim is being withheld pending notification of the family.  The accident is currently under investigation by the Lake County Sheriff's Office with assistance from the MN State Patrol and Silver Bay Police Department.  The Finland Fire Department, Silver Bay Fire Department, Lake County Rescue, and Lake County Ambulance responded and assisted at the scene.

July 8, 2015 - UPDATED (1636 hours)

Lake County Sheriff’s Office Press Release

Basswood Lake, Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Water Emergency

At 1308 hours yesterday, Lake County Dispatch received a call from Sommers Canoe Base of two to three persons in a canoe paddling on Basswood Lake when their canoe went over the Upper Basswood Falls near the Canadian border.  A youth was pinned under a log in the water. 

It was later determined by rescuers that this incident occurred between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. when the three teenage males in a canoe paddling on Basswood Lake lost control of their canoe in the rapids near Upper Basswood Falls on the Canadian border and a 15 year old male from Rochester was trapped between the damaged canoe and the rocks of the rapids in the water.

Around 1500 hours, rescuers from Lake County Sheriff’s Office and St. Louis County Sheriff’s Rescue were able to get to the victims and render aid to the victim whose leg was pinned in the water between the damaged canoe and the rocks.  The canoe was being forced against the rocks by the hydraulics of the rapids at the top of the falls.

At 1715 hours, rescue members were able to remove the trapped youth from the rocks and water.  The victim was nearly unconscious during the last 30 minutes of the rescue and was suffering from extreme hypothermia and a possible ankle fracture.

At approximately 1930 hours, Minnesota State Patrol Helicopter Trooper 8 was used to airlift the parties from the Basswood Lake scene to another location nearby where the Forest Service Beaver was waiting to transport.  The victims were part of a youth church group from Rochester, Minnesota.  The parties were then flown to the Ely Seaplane Base where Ely ambulance then transported the victim to the Ely hospital.

There were no fractures to the victim’s ankle, but he is still in the hospital due to crushing injuries to his leg and boot.  The hospital hopes to release the victim this afternoon.

The victims’ names are Matthew Knight, 37 years old, from Duluth, who is an adult group leader; Asher Bloom, 15 years old, from Rochester, Minnesota; Josiah Murray, 18 years old, from Rochester, Minnesota, and Grant Call, 17 years old, from Rochester, Minnesota.  All were part of a church group from Calvary Baptist Church out of Rochester, Minnesota.

This rescue mission would not have had a successful outcome had it not been for all of the agencies who assisted the Lake County Sheriff’s Office   A special thank you goes to Lake County Rescue personnel involved, the U.S. Forest Service pilot and crew, the Minnesota State Patrol Trooper 8 and their crew, including St. Paul Fire Department trained rescuers, who were instrumental in aiding our rescue of the victim from the scene.  And a special thank you to St. Louis County Rescue, the Morse-Fall Lake Fire Department First Responders, and the MN Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers who assisted.   And ultimately a special thank you on behalf of all of the rescue members and the victims to the Northern Tier Boy Scout staff members who reported this incident and rendered assistance in the rescue operation. 


Carey G. Johnson, Sheriff
Lake County Sheriff’s Office
613 3rd Avenue
Two Harbors, MN. 55616
Phone (218) 834-8385
Fax (218) 834-8445