Man hurt in chain snowsled accident

Posted Feb. 07, 2010, at 9:58 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:34 a.m.

GLENWOOD PLANTATION, Maine — Speed was a contributing factor in a chain-reaction accident Saturday that injured a Poland man, officials say.

Chris Arsenault, 22, who suffered multiple injuries to his left arm, leg, collarbone and back, was flown by LifeFlight helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. He was treated and later released from the hospital, a nursing supervisor said Sunday.

Arsenault was the second snowmobiler in a party of four snowmobilers who were riding on a groomed club trail at about 10 a.m. Saturday in Glenwood Plantation in southern Aroostook County, according to a press release from Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife spokeswoman Deborah Turcotte.

The first snowmobiler managed to make a sharp left-hand turn on the trail and continue on his way. When Arsenault neared the curve and realized he was not going to make it, he jumped off his sled, according to Warden Durwood Humphrey. Arsenault’s 2007 Arctic Cat F6 snowmobile traveled about 30 yards, flipped end over end and landed in the woods, according to the release.

As Arsenault was getting up from his tumble on the trail, a 14-year-old Windham boy driving a 2009 Ski Doo MXZ snowmobile struck Arsenault in the back. The boy’s sled flipped end over end and crashed into Arsenault’s snowmobile in the woods. The boy was taken to Houlton Regional Hospital, was treated for a minor head injury and later released.

The fourth snowmobiler in the pack was able to avoid the collision.

“This was a case of two out of the four operators overdriving their machines, as they could not stop or even negotiate a corner,” Warden Lt. Tom Ward said in the release.

“With the lack of snow in central and southern Maine, I have seen an increase in numbers of sleds and operators in the Aroostook County region,” Ward said. “The trails are in great shape, but folks still need to operate their machines in a safe and prudent manner. Traditionally, we see many problems in these corner areas and it’s due to speed and not operating in control at all times. These folks were very lucky that someone wasn’t killed.”

Damage to both snowmobiles was estimated $3,000 to $4,000.

The accident is under investigation.

Danforth Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene.

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