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Chef Justin Sutherland seriously injured in July 4th boating accident

MINNEAPOLIS -- Friends and family say celebrated Twin Cities chef Justin Sutherland sustained significant injuries in a boating accident over the holiday weekend.

According to a GoFundMe organized by Beth Gillies, the incident happened Sunday. Sutherland was on a boat with friends, and serving as the captain, complete with a captain's hat. The boat was traveling on the St. Croix River.

Gillies reports that the hat flew off while he was piloting the boat.

He tried to grab it, hit a wave, and was knocked off the boat. He fell into the water near the motor, and the propeller did a number on his head and left arm. His arm is broken, but his grip remains strong and there appears to be no nerve damage. His jaw is severely broken, but doctors are optimistic that with several more surgeries he will be grinning in no time. In addition to his broken bones, he sustained many lacerations, but with plastic surgery, they will become a reminder of his survival story.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office said when they arrived on the scene, Sutherland was breathing and conscious and semi-alert. Deputies determined that alcohol did not appear to be a contributing factor in the incident.

Sutherland is in the hospital, and Gillies says that he is expected to eventually be fine.

"With some time, he will possibly be better than fine. He is adding more character to the face we know and love, and the most important news, his beard is intact," Gillies said.

Sutherland has shepherded a number of acclaimed restaurants into existence, including St. Paul's Handsome Hog.

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