Once again this winter, alcohol is the major reason that people dying in Wisconsin snowmobile crashes. There have been 15 deaths this season, and the D-N-R’s Gary Eddy says at least 11 have involved alcohol. A year ago, there were only 10 total snowmobile deaths in the Badger State due to a much milder winter – but six-of-those-10 deaths still involved alcohol. Eddy says drinking reduces reaction times, and snowmobiling is an activity that requires a high level of alert at all times.
The latest alcohol-related deaths occurred last Wednesday night, when two men on single machine strayed off the ice-road between Bayfield and Madeline Island, and fell into Lake Superior. On Friday, a 13-year-old Door County boy was killed after he stopped his snowmobile near a road, and then collided with a truck as he was crossing. Officials have not said what caused that mishap. Eddy says there’s a lot of winter left, and the D-N-R is concerned that they’ll keep seeing a rise in snowmobile deaths. But he says people can easily reduce the three top factors in those deaths – alcohol, speed, and night-time riding.
The operator of a snowmobile in Marathon County was taken to Ministry St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield with a head injury, after his sled struck a tree at around 3 a.m. Sunday. It happened on a trail in Frankfort near County Hwy. N and Huckleberry Road. Investigators say that alcohol was a factor in the crash and that the man will be cited for OWI upon release from the Hospital.