Four snowmobilers were injured in three separate accidents over the weekend, prompting the Maine Warden Service to remind riders to use caution when out on the snowmobile trails — day and night.
The Maine Warden Service reported that two snowmobilers from Massachusetts were seriously injured early Sunday morning when each crashed his sled into or near a parked camper trailer on Rangeley Lake. A third rider was injured Saturday in a single-vehicle crash near Moosehead Lake, and a fourth man was injured in a head-on collision late Sunday morning in Bradstreet Township.
Thomas Henry, 37, of Methuen, Mass., was transported by LifeFlight to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston around 4 a.m. with two breaks in his left leg and other injuries after hitting a clump of cedar trees. His injuries were serious, but not considered life threatening.
Henry and his friend, Thomas Stewart, 38, of Westford, Mass., left Rangeley Lake at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday heading toward ITS 84. The trail head is marked with flashing yellow lights to assist sledders in finding their way to the groomed trail.
Stewart struck a parked camper trailer and suffered hip injuries. He was taken by ambulance to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington with non-life-threatening injuries. Henry saw Stewart hit the camper at the last moment. He swung his sled to avoid a crash and hit the trees instead. Both men were wearing helmets.
Maine Warden Service Sgt. Tim Place reported that both men were charged with reckless operation of a snowmobile, and the incident remains under investigation.
On Saturday afternoon in Greenville, a Lyman man suffered a serious leg injury when he struck a two-foot-high patch of packed ice. Peter D. Durette Jr., 46, of Lyman, was listed in stable condition in a Portland hospital Sunday afternoon, according to the Maine Warden Service.
He was transported following the crash, which occurred about 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Warden Eric Dauphinee said that Durette and three other snowmobilers were riding in the East Cover of Moosehead Lake when he hit the ice pack. His snowmobile launched into the air, flipped and rolled down the ice approximately 150 feet.
A fourth snowmobiler from Winslow was injured Sunday morning around 11 a.m. following a head-on crash with another sled in Bradstreet Township, just south of Jackman. Darrell Wentworth, 35, of Winslow, suffered a broken arm when he and Mark Thornton, 39, of Boothbay Harbor, collided on the crest of a hill on ITS 89. The incident remains under investigation.
The weekend crashes prompted the Maine Warden Service to remind snowmobilers that while between 20 and 26 inches of snow remains in the northern woods, trails are beginning to show signs of spring. Obstacles such as roots, rocks and open water crossings are showing up on trails. Additionally, many trails are covered with a hard, crusty layer of ice.
Wardens further reminded snowmobilers not drink and drive, ride at a safe speed for conditions and to wear a helmet.