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Funeral today in Detroit Lakes for TRF man, 37, who drowned in Red Lake River

The Thief River Falls man who ran away from an alcohol treatment center in Crookston last week and drowned in the Red Lake River will be laid to rest today in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Wade Douglas Bergman was 37.

He had been in the Glenmore Recovery Center in Crookston on an involuntary commitment for alcoholism treatment for three or four weeks, said his brother, Ben Bergman, of Rochert, Minn., near Detroit Lakes.

Last Monday morning, Bergman left Glenmore, which is east of Crookston on the grounds of the former St. Joseph's convent and school, and entered the Red Lake River which runs nearby, three Glenmore employees told the Polk County Sheriff's Office. The three employees tried to talk Bergman into coming back out of the water but he stayed in. They saw him surface once or twice and then go under, according to news reports.

Bergman's body was recovered early Tuesday morning, about 600 feet west, or downstream, from where he entered the river.

"It was all accidental," Ben Bergman said, based on what the family has learned so far from Glenmore. "He was trying to run away."

But Glenmore officials aren't telling the family very much, Ben Bergman said.

An all-day search last Monday ended fruitlessly and was resumed at daylight Tuesday.

Bergman's body was taken to St. Paul for an autopsy.

Wade Bergman had been in Glenmore before for treatment, because of involuntary commitment due to a criminal conviction.

He had more than a dozen convictions the past six years, in Polk and Becker counties in Minnesota, most alcohol related and all but one misdemeanors. The one felony was for trying to escape from custody.

Bergman was born May 4, 1973, in Cheverly, Md., to Douglas and Sharon Bergman, according to his obituary.

He grew up in Moorhead, graduating from Moorhead High School in 1991, where he was captain of the hockey team his senior year.

He was baptized and confirmed in a United Methodist Church in Moorhead. He attended the University of Minnesota in Crookston for a year and spent time in Alabama in landscaping. He was attending Northland Coommunity and Technical College in Thief River Falls at the time of his death.

His older brother, Jeffre, died in July in Rochert, Minn.; he was 39 and also had been captain of his hockey team at Moorhead High, graduating in 1989.

Wade Bergman's survivors include his parents, of Rochert; brother, Ben; sister Brigitte Bergman, Portland, Ore.; and many relatives and friends, according to his obituary.

His funeral will be at 1 p.m. today in the United Methodist Church, 885 Pembina Trail, Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; e-mail him at