WAYZATA, Minn. - The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office identified a grandmother and grandson from Maple Grove as the victims who died when their car fell through the ice on Lake Minnetonka Saturday afternoon.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office released a statement Sunday that the victims, 31-year-old Harland Dietrich and his grandmother, 87-year-old Mary Ann Haram, died from drowning. The Sheriff's Office said they believe the two were underwater for almost an hour.
Close friends attended a Super Bowl party Dietrich had planned at Champps Maple Grove, where Dietrich once worked as a server. Dietrich was a loyal Vikings fan and dreamed his team would one day attend the Super Bowl, so in his memory, they continued on with the party Dietrich envisioned.
"A very tragic accident, this world lost a very good person as well as a very good grandmother," said Bryan Swanson, who says he is Dietrich's longtime best friend.
Swanson says Dietrich lived with his grandmother since he was a teenager and in recent years made it his mission to take her places, whether a drive around area lakes or on cross country trips.
"Mary Ann Harem, one of the greatest women I've ever met. Not only that, Harland was one of the most unselfish people, he gave up his entire 20's, which is a hard thing to do for a 20 year old, to take care of his grandmother," said Swanson.
Hennepin County Dispatch received a call from Dietrich around 2:25 p.m. Saturday. He said his car had fallen through the ice under the County Highway 101 bridge and that his car was sinking.
When emergency crews arrived, the car was completely submerged in about 10 feet of water. The Hennepin County Dive Team began working to rescue the pair.
Dietrich was pulled out of the car first and transported by air to Hennepin County Medical Center. Haram was rescued soon after and transported to the same hospital by ambulance.
Officials said this is the 14th vehicle through the ice on Lake Minnetonka this season and the second and third fatality.
"Of the 14, 12 of those have been cars passing under channels," says Sheriff Rich Stanek. "When you venture out you have to be aware of the conditions around you."
Dietrich most recently worked at the CRAVE restaurant in the West End.
"He made special connections with guests he served, he had multiple regulars, countless people knew him," said close friend Logan Brus, who once worked with Dietrich at Granite City restaurant in Maple Grove.
"He's touched everyone in so many different ways, to look back and see the type of relationship he had with his grandma was absolutely remarkable," said Brus.
Dietrich leaves behind one younger brother, who also lived in the same home.
Friends say details of an account to benefit his brother will soon be set up, and funeral plans will also soon be underway.
A benefit fund for Harland and Mary Ann, the "Harland Dietrich Memorial Fund," has been set up through Wells Fargo.
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