The St. Croix County Sheriff’s office has identified two men who drowned yesterday in the St. Croix near Troy Beach, south of Hudson. A witness called 911 at 9:35 a.m. yesterday to report an unoccupied boat driving in circles, and an apparent body nearby.
Washington County sheriff deputies arrived at the scene by boat and located the empty boat about 650 yards from shore, which at that point had run out of gas. Officers did not immediately see a body in the water but, by evening, the Washington County Dive Team had retrieved the bodies of two men who apparently drowned.
The two men have now been identified as Demetrius Kekedakis, 51, and Perry Montpetit, 65, both from Hudson. The sheriff reports neither man was wearing a life jacket. An investigation of the incident is ongoing.
Although it is not yet known what exactly happened, the description matches something called the “circle of death.” According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, this occurs when boat operators “let go of the steering wheel or outboard steering handle while the boat is moving. The steering torque forces the motor to slam left causing the boat to swerve sharply to the right, throwing the victim into the water. The boat continues to travel in a circle and returns to strike the victim in the water, inflicting massive propeller wounds.”
The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Dive Team, Hudson Fire Department, Wisconsin DNR, Lower St. Croix Valley Fire Department, Bayport Fire Department, Stillwater Fire Department, Lakeview EMS, Hudson Police Department and the St. Croix County Medical Examiner.