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In the right place at the right time


by Trinity Gruenberg

    Spring is here and ice on the lakes begins to thaw and become dangerous. Even those with experience can fall victim to the ice. 

    Bertha-Hewitt School Superintendent Eric Koep had picked up motivational speaker Kevin Honeycutt from the airport on Sunday, March 25. To save the district some money, Honeycutt was going to stay at Koep’s family cabin outside of Battle Lake. 

    As the men approached the cabin, on a private lake, around 5:15 p.m., Koep saw a terrifying site. 

    “As we approached the cabin I looked onto the ice and noticed Uncle Joe’s truck was over halfway through the ice.  As I sped up to the lake I saw Joey with his shoulders out the driver’s window and the rest of his body was under water,” described Koep.

    He quickly called 911. He spoke to his uncle, Joe Koep, 70, for a few minutes before approaching him, thinking if he fell in while trying to rescue his uncle [that would not be helpful] and first responders were on the way. 

    Koep’s brother and father fished on that lake the day prior and there was still 28 inches of ice. Joe was just off shore about 30 yards and there was puddling water.  The water was six to eight feet deep under the ice. 

    “The wind blowing around caused the ice to weaken there.  I feel like there was probably 8-10 inches of ice where he fell in as it wasn’t easy for me to break to free him,” said Koep. . .

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