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St. Croix River Boater Dead Of Apparent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- One person is dead from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning while boating on the St. Croix River Sunday evening.

According to the St. Croix County Sheriff's office in Wisconsin, it started at around 5:30 p.m. when deputies were asked to perform a welfare check for a boat near the Highline Beach area of the river. When they arrived, they found three people on board, all of whom suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Two of the people -- 25-year-old Justin M. Roskos and 27-year-old Hayden L. Johnson -- were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center for treatment. One person -- 24-year-old Ashley Speer of Glenwood City, Wisconsin -- was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ashley Speer, Justin Roskos and Hayden Johnson
Ashley Speer, Justin Roskos and Hayden Johnson (credit: CBS)

The St. Croix County Sheriff's office says a provisional autopsy report showed Speer had high levels of carbon monoxide in her blood stream. Investigators said there was a CO detector on the boat, however they weren't sure if it was turned on or working.

Speer's mother, Mary Lynn Speer, released a statement saying "Ashley was a beautiful, intelligent, kind and compassionate young lady. She loved her job, her friends, horses, dogs, volleyball, a good time on the river and her family. She was loved by everyone who knew her." Even though there was a CO detector on board, Mary Lynn is warning others to make sure they have one.

"We'd like to take this opportunity to ask everyone to install carbon monoxide detectors in your homes, boats, and RVs as we sincerely hope no other family has to feel this pain," she said.

Last year, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law named "Sophia's Law." It's named after 7-year-old Sophia Baechler who died from carbon monoxide poisoning while sleeping in her family's boat on Lake Minnetonka in 2015. The law requires certain boats to have CO detectors. It was supposed to take effect May 1, but it has been delayed until May 2018. Minnesota is the first state to have such a law.

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