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Four Injured, Two Seriously, in Separate Snowmobile Incidents

March 7, 2010

MAINE DEPARTMENT OF INLAND FISHERIES AND WILDLIFE MAINE WARDEN SERVICE For more information, contact IF&W spokesperson Deborah Turcotte at 592-1164

January 7, 2010

Two snowmobilers seriously injured at Rangeley Lake; One snowmobiler seriously hurt at Moosehead Lake; One snowmobiler hurt in head-on collision in Bradstreet Township

Two snowmobilers from Massachusetts were seriously injured when each crashed their sleds on or near a parked camper trailer on Sunday morning.

Thomas Stewart, 38, of Westford, Mass., and Thomas Henry, 37, of Methuen, Mass., were leaving Rangeley Lake at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Sunday and were heading towards ITS 84. The trailhead is marked with flashing yellow lights to assist sledders in finding their way to the groomed trail. The Maine Warden Service was notified at 4 a.m. Sunday.

Mr. Stewart, who was wearing a helmet, struck a parked camper trailer and suffered hip injuries. He was taken by ambulance to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington. His injuries are not considered to be life threatening.

Mr. Henry, who also was wearing a helmet, saw Mr. Stewart strike the camper at the last moment, swung his sled to miss the trailer and hit a clump of cedar trees. He suffered two breaks in his left leg and other injures. He was taken by LifeFlight to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. His injuries are serious, but not considered to be life threatening.

According to Maine Warden Service Sgt. Tim Place, both men have been charged with reckless operation of a snowmobile. The incident remains under investigation. Wardens Brock Clukey, Dave Chabot and Dan Christenson, along with Sgt. Place, responded to the scene.

In Greenville, Peter D. Durette Jr., 46, of Lyman, suffered a serious leg injury when he struck 2-feet-high humic – a patch of packed ice -- in the East Cover of Moosehead Lake at approximately 1:30 p.m. Saturday. His snowmobile launched into the air, and flipped and rolled down the ice approximately 150 feet.

Warden Eric Dauphinee said he met Mr. Durette and three other snowmobilers at the Black Frog in Greenville, where the friends brought Mr. Durette to attend to the wound in his right leg. Mr. Durette was transported to C.A. Dean Memorial Hospital in Greenville, and was to be transported to a Portland hospital for further care. He was in stable condition.

In Bradstreet Township, just south of Jackman, a Winslow man suffered a broken arm when he and another snowmobiler hit each other head at approximately 11 a.m. Sunday on at the crest of a hill on ITS 89.

Darrell Wentworth, 35, of Winslow, was traveling southbound, and Mark Thornton, 39, of Boothbay Harbor, was traveling northbound when the two collided.

Mr. Wentworth was transported by Jackman Fire and Rescue to Jackman Health Center, and transferred to Redington Fairview Hospital in Skowhegan. The incident remains under investigation.

Wardens Troy Dauphinee and Tom McKenney and Sgt. Bill Chandler responded, along with MWS Investigators Kevin Anderson and Jason Luce.

Warning: The Maine Warden Service is reminding snowmobilers to use caution when out on the snowmobile trails – day and night. Between 20 and 26 inches of snow remains in the northern woods, and good sledding opportunities remain. The trails, however, are showing signs of spring. Obstacles such as roots and rocks, and open water crossings are showing up on trails. Also, many trails have a hard, crusty layer of ice on them.

Snowmobilers are reminded to not drink and drive, to ride at a reasonable and prudent speed for conditions, and to wear a helmet. Each year, the Maine Warden Service investigates several incidents where snowmobile operators are traveling too fast and “outrun” their headlights. As during the day, snowmobilers out at night are urged to ride at prudent speeds for conditions so they have adequate time to respond to obstacles in front of them.