Drunk Alaskan man intentionally hit Iditarod racing teams and killed one dog, injured three others.
Credit: Travis S.
A 26-year-old Alaskan man, Arnold Demoski, was arrested over the weekend after reportedly using his snowmobile to intentionally hit two teams of Iditarod racers. The incident injured three dogs and killed one lead dog.
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is a 1,000 mile race held completely in Alaska with teams of 16 racing dogs and one musher competing to be champions. The teams have to contend with blinding snow, high-speed winds, fatigue, brutal cold, and injuries on the race, but it’s rare that they have a dangerous encounter with snowmobiles.
Credit: Jeff King
Jeff King and Aliy Zirkle made it to the Nulato checkpoint, one of 26 checkpoints on the thousand-mile race, and told authorities what they had experienced. King said that his team had been hit once from behind, which killed one of his dogs, Nash, and injured two of his other dogs. King, a 4-time Iditarod champion, told officials that “It did not seem like an accident. It felt like an intentional attempt to scare me.” Zirkle reported that she was in the same area when a snowmobile side-swiped her team several times on her way to the checkpoint. She said that the snowmachine had turned around and continued to come at her team, eventually injuring one of her dogs.
Authorities arrested Demoski on Sunday and charged him with two counts of third-degree assault, one count of reckless endangerment, one count of reckless driving, and six counts of fifth-degree criminal mischief.
CNN spoke with Demoski who said that he regretted being out and driving after “a night of drinking.” He said he doesn’t remember the attacks and said he’s sorry, although he also said that the attack wasn’t intentional and explained that he turned around to pass by Zirkle’s team just to see if her dogs were okay. His bail is set at $50,000.
Today’s mushers take many precautions to prevent incidents like this, but these precautions can’t protect them against intentional attacks. King stated that he and his team were wearing reflectors and lights to enhance their visibility. Both teams reported that they would be continuing with their race, and at that checkpoint they were over halfway finished.