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'One for the bucket list' local bar owner wrecks dirtbike on Lake Bemidji

BEMIDJI — On a whim, local bar owner Karl Jacobson decided to take his dirtbike onto Lake Bemidji Wednesday afternoon.

The joyride ended with a trip to the hospital and neck pain for the owner of Slim’s Bar and Grill.

Jacobson, 38, wrecked his motorcycle after hitting a patch of soft ice just after 5 p.m. Wednesday. The bike flipped, sending Jacobson about 30 yards north, police said.

Jacobson himself called 911 from the ice after the crash.

“He said he had hit a bad spot in ice — went into water and got back out — reported he had injured his neck as well,” said Beryl Wernberg, Beltrami County emergency services director.

Beltrami County Sheriff’s deputies, along with the Bemidji Fire Department and a Minnesota Department of Resources enforcement office responded to the call. Jacobson was in direct view of the Northwoods Landing public boat ramp. Rescuers initially walked about a quarter mile onto the ice to stabilize Jacobson.

Bemidji firefighter Mike Mischke said the hovercraft fellow firefighters were training with Wednesday, in preparation for an icy opening day of fishing season, wasn’t used due to Jacobson’s fragile condition.

Rescuers at first tried to pull the rapid deployment craft — an inflatable sled in which Jacobson was placed — to shore by hand. But heavy slush made the going slow, so a four-wheeler was sent onto the ice to bring Jacobson to the boat ramp.

He was placed into an ambulance, still wearing his motorcycle helmet, just before 6 p.m. According to police, Jacobson said he had feeling in all of his extremities.

Jacobson’s wife, Erin Jacobson, said she was picking up trash near Slim’s when a Beltrami County Deputy called her from her husband’s phone.

Holding an obviously chilly green and yellow cockatiel that for some reason was present on the boat ramp, Erin Jacobson said she knew her husband planned to take his bike on the ice.

“He just thought ‘oh, how funny is this? It’s May 1 and I’m going to ride my bike on the lake,’” she said. “One for the bucket list.”

Justin Glawe
Reporting on crime, courts and Beltrami county government. Follow me on Twitter @JustinGlawe.
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