DULUTH — A Maplewood, Minn., man has been charged with third-degree gross misdemeanor refusal to submit to a chemical test and fourth-degree misdemeanor driving while impaired following a boating death Friday night, June 11, on Big Sandy Lake.

According to the complaint filed in District Court on Tuesday morning, Joshua Mark Harvey, 34, was driving a pontoon on the Aitkin County lake around 11:15 p.m. when Nathen Norman Waldo, 34, of North Branch, Minn., fell overboard. The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office's Rescue Squad found his body at approximately 5:10 p.m. Saturday.

Aitkin County sheriff's deputies and the McGregor Volunteer Fire Department responded to a call at approximately 11:37 p.m. Friday and located the boat near Hillcrest Resort just before midnight. Deputy Jason Sanderson reported he could smell a "strong odor of an alcoholic beverage," the report stated.

Joshua Harvey
Joshua Harvey

The five remaining occupants of the boat told police they searched for 15-20 minutes for Waldo before calling 911. They believed he possibly tripped over a cooler while walking on the boat and fell overboard, the complaint said.

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Harvey, who was identified as the driver of the boat, said he stopped right away before circling back to look for Waldo. He said Waldo went under the boat and he felt the motor hit him. Another passenger on the boat later told police in a statement that he heard the boat hit Waldo while they were traveling at about 15 mph. The motor was examined the next day, when damage to the aluminum propeller was observed and a small amount of unidentified dark material was caught on part of the prop, the complaint said.

Gary Meader / gmeader@duluthnews.com
Gary Meader / gmeader@duluthnews.com

The complaint says that Harvey admitted to law enforcement that he had been drinking and failed several field sobriety tests. Aitkin County Deputy Timothy Tierney noted Harvey's eyes were bloodshot and watery and his balance was poor. Harvey allegedly refused to perform a breath test before and after his arrest around 2 a.m. Saturday. A blood sample was submitted to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension after a warrant was obtained around 5 a.m.