Ethan Fabian

From left to right: Evann Fabian, Eli Fabian and Jack Vaselaar share stories about Ethan Fabian, who was killed Tuesday after being struck by a vehicle while riding his bike in Winona. Ethan's brothers and friends say he loved wrestling, Dragon Ball Z and just about everyone he met.

Friends of Ethan Fabian describe the young man as kind and gentle and quick to smile — the kind of person who, after pinning his opponent in wrestling, would immediately try to cheer up that opponent.

“He had such a big heart,” said Jack Vaselaar, who attends Cotter High School and co-captains the Winona Senior High School wrestling team. “He was always smiling. Never had a bad face on him.”

Ethan, 17, was struck by a vehicle Tuesday while riding his bike on East Lake Boulevard. He would have been a senior at Winona High this fall.

People who knew Ethan — whether it’s his coaches, his teammates or his brothers — cannot talk about him without mentioning his smile.

Joe Hoialmen, assistant wrestling coach, said he would even be grinning while running sprints around the high school cafeteria — while most of the guys were red-faced and sucking wind.

“He’d go up and down the stairs like a bat out of hell,” Hoialmen said. “He’d take a break, and then he’d be running like a bat out of hell again.”

Ethan and his brothers bonded through wrestling, often going up against one another at practice.

When Eli or Evann would pin their older brother, Ethan would take a couple minutes to blow off steam. Then he’d be back out on the mat, ready for a rematch.

“And we’d pin him again,” Evann joked.

The Fabian boys say their loss hasn’t fully set in — they half-expect to turn a corner and see Ethan standing there.

Ethan loved to draw superheroes and characters from Dragon Ball Z, his brothers say. He also loved the Minnesota Twins, video games and riding his bike.

“He was always on his bike,” Evann said. “I’m not sure where he went. He’d just go to friends’ houses.”

People could expect to see Ethan riding around town, coaching youth wrestling or working at Hy-Vee.

Jack’s mother often bumped into Ethan at the store, and he would usually call her over to go through his aisle.

“She always looked forward to seeing him,” Jack said. “People noticed his heart.”

The detail about him cheering up his wrestling opponents is no exaggeration, no platitude.

Matt Drazkowski, head wrestling coach, said he saw Ethan do it time and time again.

“He’d pin the guy, and there would be a moment when he was just elated,” Drazkowski said. “Then he’d remember the other guy, and he’d go over and say: ‘Don’t feel bad. Don’t feel bad. You wrestled great.’

“Ethan never wanted anyone to feel as bad as he felt when he would lose a match.”

His brothers say that kindness, that sense of compassion, carried over to their brotherly fights.

Even when Ethan would feud with one of his brothers, he never lost sight of the fact that he loved them.

“He loved everybody,” Eli said. “No matter what.”

A visitation for Ethan is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18, at Hoff Celebration of Life Center.

The Fabian family has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help cover funeral expenses.

Critter Creations, an antler art business run by the boys’ uncle, is also auctioning off pieces — everything from antler wine racks to antler crosses — and giving all proceeds to the Fabians.

The auctions are conducted on Facebook, and will run for another week.

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(5) comments


Having lived within 3 blocks of the site of that accident for more than 10 years I can tell you without a doubt there is good reason to expect a bicycle to pop up unexpectedly at that spot. Adults and kids use that short cut daily and many times they are too aggressive coming up the hill and either they, their bike or their property end up in the roadway because of it. Anyone who lives in that area and travels that road with regularity (twice a day at a minimum for me) knows about that spot and the bikers.
Since I wasn't a witness to what happened and have no knowledge beyond gossip as to what happened and who was at fault I won't cast aspersions toward either party. Please remember that while this gives the "idle lives" collective something to gossip about, a family lost a child and another child was involved. Let's leave the detective work to the detectives so as to avoid rubbing salt in fresh wounds.


An article about the accident said Fabian "had crossed Hwy. 61 just after noon and gone up the embankment onto the 650 block of East Lake Boulevard ".

In this Google Earth image you can see the area of the intersection of Parks Ave & Hwy #61. This is directly across from the 650 block of East Lake Boulevard. Looking straight across that intersection you will see a well worn path up the embankment to the 650 block of East Lake Boulevard.

Driving on East Lake Boulevard there is no reason to expect a bicyclist to pop out onto East Lake Boulevard from the ditch next to Hwy #61.

A very unfortunate tragedy.






I looked too and found nada...I take Sonny at word +1, must be blind spot. Wonder if past complaints were buried. Very sad!


What actually happened?


An avoidable tragedy. I feel terrible for the driver of the car. From the description of the location there would be no reason for the driver of the car to expect a bicycle to pop out there.

Do we put up a stop sign there like we did after the fatality near Cotter? Maybe a big fence along that stretch of road to prevent pedestrians and bicyclists from crossing there?

There really isn't a reason to expect a bicycle to pop out there.

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