Fatal plunge into Lake Minnetonka tests a father and a marriage

A reckless moment, a horrific loss and a father’s quest for atonement.




By Mary Lynn Smith Star Tribune  (permission granted


APRIL 9, 2018 — 8:27AM

Jon Markle doesn’t have to talk about that night anymore, the night he drove drunk onto a frozen lake with his family.

A judge ordered him to tell his story 100 times, and Markle met that obligation nearly two years ago. Yet once or twice a month he continues to speak to high school students and convicted drunk drivers. He believes he owes it to his daughter to relive what happened five years ago, when the ice broke.

That’s why he’s in the cafeteria of the Hopkins community center, talking to a small group of men and women who have been convicted of driving while drunk. He’s composed, but every now and then the grief rises up, raw and visceral, and catches in his throat. “It’s my fault my daughter is dead,” he tells them.

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