NR man's body found in the Willow River
Jeremy Gillis, 22, of New Richmond was found floating in the Willow River the morning of Dec. 6.
St. Croix County deputies responded to reports of a one-vehicle crash in Erin Prairie at about 6:30 a.m., about a quarter mile west of County Road T on County Road K. When they arrived on the scene, the vehicle was empty.
"We checked the area and even checked the residence of the vehicle's owner," said Chief Deputy Scott Knudson.
Calls were placed to local hospitals in hopes of locating the victim; however, none had admitted Gillis.
Deputies cleared the accident scene at 7:34 a.m., Knudson said.
"At that point the family went out looking for him," he said. "At about 8:55 a.m. we got a call."
The family had stumbled upon some tracks leading down to the river from County Road T. At 9:03 a.m. the family confirmed that Gillis had been located in the river.
Knudson said it's unknown how Gillis ended up in the river after the crash.
"Without anyone to tell us what happened, we're not really sure how he ended up in the river," he said.
Knudson said it appears Gillis lost control of his vehicle while driving along Country Road K; however, the impact is not what caused Gillis' death.
"We're not considering this a traffic fatality," he said.
No autopsy will be performed.
Mass of Christian Burial is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 9, at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Erin Prairie. Visitation is slated for 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, at the CullenCrea Funeral Home, 307 S. Arch Ave., New Richmond, and also one hour prior to the service at the church.