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Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
284 State Street
41 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Telephone: work (207) 592-4348
Fax: (207) 287-6395
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April 12, 2009
Presque Isle Man Dies in Snowmobile Incident
Augusta, Maine - A 22-year-old Presque Isle man died Saturday night while snowmobilng on a northern Maine woods trail with a friend.
Brian James, 22, of Presque Isle was driving the first of two snowmobile on Sugar Birch Ridge Road, a woods trail in T9 R7 WELS, about six miles west of Oxbow in Aroostook County.
According to Maine Warden Service Sgt. Tom Ward, many of the woods trails have hard-packed snow that could be covered in ice, and some have sweeping snow banks that gradually rise from the trail to as high as three feet.
Mr. James, who was driving an Arctic Cat 600ZR, approached a right-turn corner at a high rate of speed and failed to negotiate the turn, according to Sgt. Ward. He drove up onto a gradual rising snowbank and went airborne, hitting a 14-inch white birch tree. The time was approximately 11:45 p.m. Saturday, April 11.
Mr. James's friend, Chad Lavway, 22, of Presque Isle, was on the second snowmobile. Mr. Lavway told Game Wardens he did not see the incident, and had returned to a camp where two friends, including Mr. James's brother, informed Mr. Lavway that Mr. James had not returned.
The three men traveled the trail, and found where Mr. James went off of it. Mr. James was located over the snowbank near the tree. He was dead at the scene.
The Maine Warden Service and Ashland Police and Fire departments were notified at 12:50 a.m. today. It was determined that Mr. James died a 11:45 p.m. Saturday. Mr. James was wearing a helmet.
Game Wardens Preston Pomerleau, Charles Brown, Kevin Pelkey, and Sgt. Ward, responded to the scene. The incident is under investigation.
Mr. James was transported to Duncan Raves Funeral Home in Presque Isle.
This is the ninth snowmobile-related fatality this season.
The snowmobile season is winding down in northern Maine, and while there still is snow on many of the woods trails, trail conditions are changing as the snow and ice melts, according to Sgt. Ward. People are urged to use extreme caution, wear a helmet, and drive at a reasonable speed for conditions.