Snowmobile crash claims life of Ely school staffer

by Tom Coombe

A staff member at Ely Memorial High School died late Sunday after a snowmobile accident on Shagawa Lake.

Christopher Yarger, 48, was killed from injuries he sustained when crashing his snowmobile near the 400 block of North Shagawa Road just before 3 p.m. Sunday.

Yarger was transported by ambulance to Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital and later taken by helicopter to St. Mary's Hospital in Duluth, where he was pronounced dead.

Superintendent Kevin Abrahamson confirmed Yarger's death in an e-mail sent Monday morning to parents.

"It is with heartfelt sadness and deepest sympathy that we inform you that the Ely School District has experienced the loss of one of its teaching staff," said Abrahamson. "Although Mr. Yarger was new to our schools this year, we know that he impacted our students."

Yarger was a German instructor at the high school during the first half of the 2016-17 school year and was assigned to other duties during the second semester.

School officials made staff available Monday to anyone experiencing difficulty or needing someone to talk to about Yarger's passing.

The Ely Ambulance Service was joined by Ely police and St. Louis County deputies, the Ely Fire Department and area first responders at the scene of the crash.

According to a news release from the county sheriff's department, the crash is under investigation but it is believed that both speed and alcohol played a role.