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Report: DNR officer wasn't wearing life jacket

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Eugene Wymn

PINE CITY, Minn. - The Minnesota conservation officer who drowned in a Pine County Lake on April 19 was not wearing a life jacket when his DNR-issued boat made an abrupt turn, throwing him and a county deputy into Cross Lake, a sheriff's report said.

The Pine County sheriff’s report on Thursday said Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Eugene Wynn, 43, and Deputy Scott Grice were responding to a report of something suspicious in the water, possibly a person, in the lake where chunks of winter ice were still floating.

According to the sheriff's report, Wynn accelerated the boat away from shore and then suddenly made an abrupt left turn, throwing Wynn and Grice into the cold water as the boat continued under power across the lake.

There were two life jackets in the boat but neither officer was wearing one. While state law only requires life jackets be readily available in the boat, DNR policy requires officers to wear them while on the water.

Wynn is the 22nd Minnesota conservation officer to die in the line of duty, according to the DNR.

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