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Snowmobile slams into Iditarod team, killing one dog and injuring others

Discussion in 'Canine News/Informative Articles' started by MyBuddy, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. MyBuddy

    MyBuddy Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Snowmobile slams into Iditarod teams, killing one dog and injuring others.

    The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race — Alaska's “Last Great Race” — was reeling in the wake of a suspected snowmobile assault on two dog teams along a remote section of the Yukon River that left one dog dead and two others seriously injured.

    Alaska State Troopers said Saturday they had caught the snowmobiler responsible. They charged 26-year-old Arnold Demoski of Nulato, a community of about 350 people, with assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and criminal mischief after the incidents that left mushers Jeff King of Denali Park and Aliy Zirkle of Fairbanks badly shaken.

    Both mushers said they believed Demoski, who has a history of assault, intentionally tried to run them down on the trail in the dark of night.

    The Iditarod has witnessed dog deaths before after snowmobiles, or snow machines as they are commonly called in Alaska, accidentally veered into teams, but never a willful assault.

    Some residents of Nulato speculated that Demoski might simply have been trying to scare the mushers and then ran into them accidentally.

    In a taped interview with Anchorage television station KTUU, Demoski denied any intent to harm anyone.

    “It not was intentional,” he said. “That's not me. I don't do stuff like that.”

    Demoski gave similar statements to other media and claimed only to have been involved in an unfortunate accident while driving drunk. He did not know what had happened until sleeping off a night of drinking, he said.

    According to his version of events, he was driving in an alcoholic blackout and only put the facts together after waking up to find his snow machine damaged and everyone in the village talking about the dog teams run down.

    Still, he somehow remembered going back to see whether Zirkle was OK, and then deciding he didn't want to stop and talk to her because he might get in trouble.

    The 59-year-old King, a four-time Iditarod champ who suffered the loss of a dog named Nash, viewed the attack as intentional. He said his sled was well lit and easily visible when the snowmobile came screaming into it.

    King estimated Demoski's machine was doing 80 mph when it went past the front of his dog sled and slammed into the musher's team with such force the snowmobile's cowling came flying off. King collected the cowling and brought it into the Nulato checkpoint with his dead and injured dogs in the sled.

    The cowling matched that missing from Demoski's sled, which was parked in his yard.

    Officials of the Iditarod and the Nulato Tribal Council were quick to blame alcohol for what happened and express sympathy for the two mushers.

    “We are disturbed and saddened that celebrated Iditarod veteran dog teams led by Jeff King and Aliy Zirkle were struck by a resident of our village,” the tribe said in a written statement. “Nulato recognizes the complex behavioral health issues that impact our village and we ask for prayers as we seek wellness for all.”

    Nulato is what is known as a “damp” village in rural Alaska, where alcohol laws are complicated. Some villages ban booze. Some allow it. And some like Nulato live in between. There are no bars or liquor stores in the community, but alcohol is not banned. About 20 miles upriver, Koyukuk, home to about 100 people, is a “wet'' village, where alcohol can be bought at the Last Chance Liquor Store.


    Nash, one of Jeff King's sled dogs, was killed by a snowmobile.

    (Jeff King Husky Homestead)

  2. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    I saw this and it makes me sick. :( That snowmobiler should serve time.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Viemarangelrock

    Viemarangelrock $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Shocking! In my eyes he's made a deliberate attack on them from behind. Bloody substance abuse involved again....makes me sick to the stomach! I hope they come down on him hard, evil evil man.

    RIP beautiful boy! Taken too soon. You'll never be forgotten :sorrow:
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. GennyB

    GennyB Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Intentional or not, the man should be punished. Irresponsible behavior has consequences too.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. AresMyDobie

    AresMyDobie Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Wow that very sad :(
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    It's really sad that a few snowmobilers give the rest such a bad name. We've had a few cases of them running down helpless deer and killing them when the snow is deep and they can't run like they usually do, but the snowmobiles can stay on top of the snow. F'ing cowards and asses. Most of them are great, responsible people, but there are those few insecure jackasses who need to be put behind bars....
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Marinegeekswife

    Marinegeekswife Hot Topics Subscriber

    My first thought when I saw this was animal rights wackos. I was surprised to see it was just a drunk jackass. I do hope they charge him with something.
    • Agree Agree x 2

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