Morning storms leave one man injured by falling tree

Emergency crews had to clear downed trees on road to get to victim

Adam Carter
July 04, 2018 - 3:57 pm

Photo courtesy of Dave Snetsinger.

A man was injured by a falling tree as storms slammed Becker County in Northwestern Minnesota on Wednesday morning.

Emergency officials for the White Earth Nation say the storm knocked over several trees and damaged homes near Elbow Lake.

The Becker County Sheriffs Office says 44-year old Jeff Panzer of Farmington was camping with three other people when a tree fell on him, as he was standing under an awning.

Edward Snetsinger with White Earth Emergency Management says emergency crews had to cut through downed trees to make it through roads to get to Panzer. 

"The main road was cut out by responders to get to the victim," Snetsinger said.

He says Panzer suffered injuries to his shoulder and ribs and was taken to a local hospital by ambulance.  The sheriffs office says Panzer sustained "non-life threatening injuries."

Considering the storm hit early in the morning, and the fact that there are many campgrounds in the area, Snetsinger says they are fortunate more people were not hurt.

"It's a true testament of being aware of surrounding, plus having some of the mobile apps that are out there to alert everyone. It was an interesting weather event this morning."

Snetsinger says they are not sure yet if the storm was straight-line winds or a tornado. He says the National Weather Service will make that determination.

In Bemidji, there were reports that a tornado touched down, knocking over many large trees and damaging homes. The National Weather Service will also make the determination if it indeed was a tornado.

Snetsinger says residents are pitching in to help neighbors clean up the mess.

"It's Northern Minnesota, everyone's helping out in a time of need."