New Jersey man dies in Farmington snowmobile wreck

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FARMINGTON — A New Jersey man died Sunday morning when the snowmobile he was riding struck a tree on the edge of a trail.

Richard Keith Horton, 50, of Delran, N.J., was sledding with friends at 11:09 a.m. before the accident that killed him, according to Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Warden Service. Horton was pronounced dead at the scene by medical personnel, MacDonald said.

Neither speed nor alcohol were contributing factors, MacDonald said. He said operator inexperience and riding a borrowed snowmobile in unfamiliar territory were factors.

It was Maine’s third snowmobile-related fatality this season, MacDonald said.

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The first fatality occurred in Byron on Jan. 31. The second was in Dixfield on Feb. 1 on a public road, and was investigated by the Maine State Police.

Maine game wardens, Farmington Fire and Rescue personnel and Maine State Police assisted at the scene on Sunday. Equipment provided by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department also was on hand.

According to MacDonald, Sunday’s accident in Farmington remains under investigation, and will be reviewed by the district attorney.

In Phillips, another snowmobile accident occurred at 12:39 p.m. Sunday on the Interconnecting Trail System 89 off Reeds Mill Road.

MacDonald confirmed a 23-year-old male from Lunenburg, Mass., sustained a minor head injury when he rolled his snowmobile over.

According to MacDonald, the operator of the snowmobile had recovered upon warden’s arrival and alcohol was not a factor.

Operator inexperience and oncoming traffic were considered contributing factors, and no charges were filed.

dmcintire@sunjournal.com

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