Baby Dies after SUV Crashes through Lake Minnetonka

Updated: 01/23/2013 2:57 PM By: Cassie Hart

A baby girl died Monday after she was pulled from a vehicle that fell through the ice on Lake Minnetonka Friday night.

Jonathan Markle of Minnetrista was driving his family's sport utility vehicle when it broke through the ice below Halstead Bay Bridge along County Road 44 in Minnetrista just after 5 p.m. Friday. His wife, Amanda, 2-year-old daughter, Isabelle, and 8-month-old daughter, Tabitha, were also in the vehicle.

A Mound firefighter who lives near the bridge and a friend helped Amanda and Isabelle out of the water.

Jonathan Markle tried unsuccessfully to rescue Tabitha, who was strapped in the backseat of the submerged vehicle.

Eight-month old Tabitha died from drowning and her death has been ruled accidental, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office. She was underwater for 15 to 20 minutes.

Three family members were also treated and since been released from the hospital.

Hennepin County and Orono police are investigating whether alcohol was involved in the accident.

The channel where the SUV broke through is notorious for never being totally frozen, according to the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.

Several other vehicles went through the ice on the lake in recent days.