|Contact: Edie Smith, Spokesperson
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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March 6, 2010
West Gardner Snowmobiler Dies in The Forks; Fire Chief En Route to Scene Dies
Augusta, Maine - A 37-year-old West Gardner man died Friday night in a head-on snowmobile crash with a 9-inch fir tree on a groomed trail in The Forks.
While driving his truck en route to the scene, The Forks Fire Chief Brian Rowe, 66, of West Forks, suffered a critical medical episode and died. The Forks Fire and Rescue emergency medical personnel who had been at the snowmobile incident came to his aid and performed life-saving measures, but those efforts were unsuccessful.
The snowmobile incident occurred at approximately 9:30 p.m. on ITS 87, a groomed trail near Moxie Pond in The Forks. The Maine Warden Service was notified at 10:15 p.m.
Jason Dodge, 37, of West Gardner was the last operator in a group of five snowmobilers, including his brother, who were traveling from a family camp in Carratunk.
Mr. Dodge, who was wearing a helmet, failed to negotiate a left turn while operating his late model Ski Doo 800 Renegade on the icy trail, and hit the tree head-on. He suffered head trauma and internal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency medical personnel from The Forks Fire and Rescue.
The incident is under investigation. Wardens Tom McKenney, Jared Herrick and Jonathan Parker, and Sgt. Christopher Simmons, responded to the incident.
Warning: The Maine Warden Service is reminding snowmobilers to use caution when out on the snowmobile trails. Between 20 and 26 inches of snow remains in the northern woods, and good sledding opportunities remain. The trails, however, are showing signs of spring. Obstacles such as roots and rocks, and open water crossings are showing up on trails. Also, many trails have a hard, crusty layer of ice on them.
Snowmobilers are reminded to not drink and drive, to ride at a reasonable and prudent speed for conditions, and to wear a helmet.