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Lawsuit targets bars that allegedly served snowmobiler

By Sarah smith

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against three Hubbard county liquor establishments in the 2012 death of an Albany man who died on his snowmobile on the Heartland Trail. The suit asserts the three establishments served Jason L. Gutzwiller, 30, alcohol after he was legally drunk and that he died as a result of a crash he had on the trail March 3, 2012, east of Nevis.

One of the establishments, Bullwinkle’s Bar & Grill of Nevis, has in turn named Gutzwiller’s drinking companions, claiming they are to blame. The other establishments are Zhateau Zorbaz and The Iron Horse Bar & Grill.

The three establishments vehemently deny they served Gutzwiller after he was legally intoxicated. All three have filed motions to be dismissed from the legal proceedings.

Gutzwiller’s snowmobile veered off the trail and struck a tree head-on while he was eastbound on the trail, the accident report indicated. The crash occurred a mile and a half east of Nevis.

His widow, Carrie Gutzwiller, is suing on behalf of herself and four children.

Bullwinkle’s also names Eric Luethmers, Shaun Gaebel and Timothy Gaebel as those who furnished alcoholic beverages to the victim that caused his death.

Also named are the widow, Steven Weber and the New Munich Snow Gliders.

All have denied liability in the dram shop case.

A scheduling conference has been set for April 29 in front of Hubbard County District Judge Paul Rasmussen.

Gutzwiller died at the scene despite attempts to revive him. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

The attorneys are from St. Cloud and the Minneapolis areas. The suit was served Feb. 3.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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