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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Snowmobile Rider Strikes Teams in Iditarod Sled Dog Race


    Four-time champion Jeff King and his team leave the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Anchorage, Alaska, March 5, 2016. King's team was one of two struck Saturday by a snowmobile rider.

    A snowmobile rider ran into two dog teams that were competing Saturday in Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, killing one dog and injuring at least three others.

    The teams of sled drivers Aliy Zirkle and Jeff King were struck outside the village of Nulato on the Yukon River, a little more than halfway into the 1,600-kilometer (994-mile) race from near Anchorage to Nome.

    The Iditarod website said suspect Arnold Demoski, 26, had been taken into custody. Police said the motive for the incident was unknown.

    Race officials said Zirkle was approaching Nulato when a person on a snowmobile repeatedly attempted to harm her.

    One of King's dogs was killed in the attack.

    "It did not seem like an accident," King told the Iditarod website. "The river is a mile wide, the packed trail is 40 feet wide. I had lights on, reflectors on my harnesses, sled bag, two lights on my person. It really felt like an intentional attempt to scare me."

    King requested and received medical attention at the checkpoint, but he and Zirkle both planned to continue the race to the finish in Nome as planned, King with only 11 dogs remaining on his team.

    Zirkle was in third place; King, a four-time Iditarod champion, was in fifth place. The race leader was Brent Sass, and reigning champ Mitch Seavey was in second place

    Eighty-five teams set off last Sunday from the town of Willow, 140 kilometers (87 miles) from Anchorage. Of those, only five have withdrawn from the race.

    Snowmobile Rider Strikes Teams in Iditarod Sled Dog Race

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Man Arrested For Driving Snowmobile Into Two Iditarod Dog Teams

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A man suspected of intentionally driving a snowmobile into teams of two mushers near the front of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has been arrested in a Yukon River village.


    Arnold Demoski, 26, of Nulato, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and six counts of criminal mischief.

    Demoski spoke to KTUU-TV (UPDATE: Snowmachiner faces assault, criminal mischief charges after striking dogs | Local News - KTUU.com Anchorage ), saying he was returning home from a night of drinking when he struck Aliy Zirkle and Jeff King's teams early Saturday morning.

    The crashes killed one of King's dogs and injured at least two others. One of Zirkle's dogs also was injured. Iditarod officials at first reported King had been injured. But the four-time champion said later the snowmobile had missed both him and his sled.

    Demoski said when he woke up Saturday morning and heard what had happened to the mushers, he checked his snowmobile and realized he had done it. The snowmobile was missing a part and had rust-colored stains, he said.

    Demoski said he doesn't remember the collisions, which the Iditarod described as apparently intentional attacks.

    "I just want to say I'm sorry," he said.

    Zirkle, 46, who finished second three times from 2012 to 2014, was mushing from Kokukuk to Nulato, a run of less than 20 miles (32.19 kilometers) on the Yukon River, when she was hit, race marshal Mark Nordman said Saturday.

    The snowmobile hit the side of Zirkle's sled about 5 miles (8.05 kilometers) outside of Koyukuk, turned around multiple times and came back at her before driving off, Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said by email.

    The snowmobile reappeared 12 miles (19.31 kilometers) outside of Nulato. The driver revved up and was pointed at Zirkle before leaving, Peters said.

    Demoski told KTUU that he did not return to harass Zirkle. He said he wanted to check to make sure she was OK.

    One dog on Zirkle's team was bruised. Officials described the injury as non-life-threatening.

    Zirkle reached Nulato and told a race official the incident had left her shaken.

    "I'm really bad. Someone tried to kill me with a snowmachine," she said on a video posted to the Iditarod Insider webpage. Snowmachine is what Alaskans call snowmobiles.

    King, a four-time Iditarod champion, was behind Zirkle and fared worse. When King reached the vicinity 12 miles outside of Nulato, his team was struck from behind by the snowmobile.

    Nash, a 3-year-old male, was killed. Crosby, another 3-year-old male, and Banjo, a 2-year-old male, received injuries and are expected to survive. King told the Iditarod Insider the snowmobile narrowly missed him and his sled, but hit his dogs at high speed.

    "One of my dogs was killed pretty much on the spot, and a couple others I gave first aid to the best I could and loaded them into my sled," he told the Iditarod camera crew. "I kind of felt like a triage ambulance."

    It did not appear to be an accident, he said. "It seemed like an act of bravado," King said.

    Rural Alaska communities have many wonderful people, he said, but they also have serious social problems.

    "It is beyond comprehension to me that this was not related to substance abuse," King said, adding that "no one in their right mind would do what this person did."

    King remained in Nulato early Saturday afternoon.

    The race leader early Saturday afternoon was Brent Sass, who left the village of Kaltag at 8:20 a.m.

    Zirkle rested four hours in Nulato and dropped one dog before heading back onto the Yukon River with 14 dogs in harness. She reached Kaltag at 10: 44 a.m., and after a nine-minute rest, left again in second place.

    Current champion Dallas Seavey left Kaltag at 11: 24 a.m. in third place. His father, former champion Mitch Seavey, was in fourth place.

    Man Arrested For Driving Snowmobile Into Two Iditarod Dog Teams

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