2013-02-07 / Front Page

Snowmobile accidents hit on same day

1 causes injury, sheriff’s office investigates

MANISTIQUE – Two separate snowmobile accidents occurred in Schoolcraft County on Feb. 2, one involving injuries.

According to the Schoolcraft County Sheriff’s Department, the first incident occurred on Trail 8 near Ross Lake in Hiawatha Township. At around noon, patrolling deputies reported encountering a trail groomer operator attempting to call 911 and report the groomer had been struck by a snowmobile.

Deputies assessed the victim, a 60-year-old male and transported him to a nearby county road, where he was later transferred by Alger County EMS personnel to Munising Memorial Hospital with non life threatening injuries.

Upon investigating the incident, deputies uncovered the groomer operator followed proper protocol when he encountered the snowmobiler, bringing the groomer to a stop and raising the “hydraulic drag” to allow the machine to pass him. Despite this, the victim attempted to pass the groomer on a bank, causing him to be ejected from the snowmobile and strike the groomer.

The incident remains under investigation, but excessive speed and careless operation are believed to be contributing factors in the crash.

A separate, second accident, reported to the Schoolcraft County Sheriff’s Department at 8:20 p.m., occurred on Trail 2 in Doyle Township. According to a news release from the department, two snowmobile operators collided head-on while approaching a corner from opposite sides. Witnesses reported both men were thrown from their machines, but were uninjured.

Extensive damage was caused to one snowmobile, and officers are currently seeking the driver of the second snowmobile, which left the scene of the accident.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, six accidents causing death have been reported for the 2013 snowmobile season, currently underway.

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