State snowmobile deaths reach 17
Star Journal Report
Three snowmobile fatalities over the weekend brought the total to 17 deaths for the season, one more than the total number for 2019.
Two unrelated deaths were reported in Vilas County in a span of five hours Saturday morning. Shortly after 4 a.m., a 911 call reported a snowmobile versus tree accident near the shoreline on Little St. Germain Lake in the town of St. Germain. Upon the arrival of emergency services, the driver, a 38-year-old man from Illinois, was found to be deceased.
At 9:02 a.m. Saturday, Vilas County dispatch center received a 911 call reporting a snowmobile accident in the woods in the town of Plum Lake. The deceased was identified as a 27-year-old male from Illinois.
The third person, a 40-year-old man from Illinois, was killed in Iron County in the town of Mercer. Emergency services workers attempted to save the man’s life, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding snowmobilers to sled safely. February is often the deadliest month for snowmobilers. Nine of the 17 deaths this year have occurred this month. Alcohol, excess speed, driver inexperience or operator error are the leading causes of the fatalities according to a release from the DNR.
“Safe snowmobiling means you must operate within your specific capabilities, operating at safe following distances when riding with others and use the right speeds for the terrain, daylight or night riding,” said DNR Conservation Warden Lt. Martin Stone, administrator for the DNR’s Off-Highway Vehicle program. “Wardens and partner law enforcement recreational patrols are on those trails, working to keep the trails safe and fun for all to enjoy. We always ask that people ride responsibly.”
Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1985, and at least 12 years old must complete a snowmobile safety certification course to operate a snowmobile on state public snowmobile trails and areas.