Police probe separate snowmobile accidents

MANISTIQUE – Two separate snowmobile accidents over the weekend continue to be investigated by the Schoolcraft County Sheriff’s Department. A snowmobile driver was hurt after striking a groomer in one incident. A driver fled the scene in the second crash.

One snowmobiler was injured when he struck a trail groomer at noon Saturday on Trail 8 near Ross Lake in Hiawatha Township, according to deputies. The 60-year-old man was on a bank attempting to pass the stopped groomer, when he was ejected from his snowmobile and struck the groomer.

After assessing the man’s injuries, deputies who arrived at the scene took him to a nearby county road where Alger County EMS personnel transported him to Munising Memorial Hospital. The man was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to the sheriff’s news release.

The groomer operator was not injured in the accident, said deputies. Investigation indicated the groomer operator from the Seney Snowmobile Club had followed proper protocol when he encountered the snowmobiler; he stopped the groomer and raised the hydraulic drag to allow the machine to pass the groomer.

When the snowmobiler went past the groomer, he hit the drag portion causing minor damage to the snowmobile, said deputies. The groomer was not damaged.

Excessive speed and careless operation are said to be contributing factors in the accident. It remains under investigation.

The second accident was reported at 8:20 p.m. Saturday on Trail 2 in Doyle Township where two snowmobilers, approaching from opposite directions, collided on a corner, said deputies.

Both men were thrown from their machines but were not injured, according to witnesses.

The snowmobile of a victim at the scene was heavily damaged. The second operator involved in the accident left the scene before the accident was reported to law enforcement, stated the news release.

Deputies are attempting to locate the second snowmobiler, who is considered a suspect for not reporting the accident and reckless operation of a snowmobile.

According to the news release, Michigan law requires the operator of a snowmobile involved in an accident resulting in injuries, or death, or property damage of $100 or more must notify local police as soon as possible.