BYRON — Two people were killed in separate snowmobile accidents late Friday night and early Saturday morning, officials said Saturday. They were the first fatalities of Maine’s 2013-14 snowmobile season.
Daniel Lavorgna, 47, of Mexico died at Rumford Hospital from injuries sustained in a snowmobile accident in Dixfield on Saturday, according to his obituary.
The accident occurred at 1 a.m. on Main Street, also called Route 2, at the intersection with Hodges Hill Road, Dixfield fire Chief Scott Dennett said.
Dixfield firefighters were called to the scene for traffic control and remained there until 7 a.m. as troopers reconstructed the accident.
Dennett said the snowmobiler was traveling up Main Street in the middle of the road from the town garage.
“From what I understand, he crossed over and went off the road, hit some rocks beside the road and launched into the air off a snowbank and was separated from the sled,” Dennett said.
Lavorgna was a master welder, avid outdoorsman and “world-class chef,” according to his obituary. He is survived by a son, Sabin James of Lewiston; a daughter, Holly Joe of Lewiston; his former wife, Jennifer Dolloff of Peru; his father, Anthony Lavorgna of Mexico; and four brothers and a sister.
Man arrested in Byron crash
In the second snowmobile fatality, police said speed and alcohol contributed to the death of a Massachusetts man who drove into a parked plow truck in Byron at 11 p.m. Friday at 74 East Branch Road, Maine Warden Brock Clukey said.
East Branch Road is off No. 6 Road coming out of Coos Canyon. Roxbury, Mexico and Rumford firefighters responded, along with Clukey.
Leonardo Rodrigues, 34, of Everett, Mass., was pronounced dead inside the emergency room operating room at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston after being flown there from Byron by LifeFlight, Clukey said.
“He died of extensive injuries,” Clukey said.
Rodrigues was riding a 2012 Arctic Cat four-stroke snowmobile with three other snowmobilers when the accident happened, the warden said.
Rodrigues was traveling at a high rate of speed when his sled slammed into the rear passenger side quarter-panel of the Ford F-250 plow truck, Clukey said.
“He was going way too fast,” he said. “Alcohol was also a factor.”
Clukey said Rodrigues came off the sled and “was kind of thrown under the truck” on impact.
Initially, according to radio traffic between firefighters and a dispatcher in Paris, Rumford firefighters were asked to bring hydraulic equipment to extricate Rodrigues, whose helmeted head was caught in the truck’s wheel well. Clukey said he couldn’t confirm that because he arrived after Rodrigues had been freed.
Rumford fire Chief Bob Chase said on Saturday evening that before they arrived, Rodrigues had been extricated by people at the scene.
“All we did was establish a landing zone for LifeFlight,” Chase said.
Clukey said Rodrigues was critically injured and had broken bones.
“He had a lot of injuries,” Clukey said.
He said Rodrigues and three other men came up for the weekend, rented a place and were going out for a snowmobile ride.
One of the riders in the group, William Ashmore Jr., 39, of Boston, was arrested by Clukey on charges of operating under the influence on a snowmobile and failure to comply with the duty to submit to testing. Ashmore was taken by Maine State Police Trooper Jason Wing to Paris and booked into Oxford County Jail.
Clukey said the other two riders were not intoxicated.
Wardens were also investigating a serious snowmobile accident late Saturday afternoon on Sabattus Pond in Sabattus, a state police dispatcher said in Gray.
Additionally, Game Wardens responded to three other personal injury snowmobile crashes since Friday night, including two in Franklin County and one in Aroostook County, Warden Cpl. John MacDonald said late Saturday evening in a news release.
All three resulted in broken bones and the victims being transported to the hospital, he said.
“None are believed to be life threatening,” MacDonald said.
One of the Franklin County incidents was alcohol related and an investigation continues, he said.
Due to the recent fluctuations in temperature, many of the trails are icy and riders need to slow down and remain in control, Maine Warden Service Lt. Dan Scott said in the release.
Snowmobilers operating at night are reminded to not overdrive their headlights and to never mix alcohol and riding,” Scott said.