Man ‘sorry’ after snowmobile driven into dogs at Iditarod race

Mushers in 2 teams struck during Alaskan contest; 1 dog killed and 3 others

The Associated Press Posted: Mar 13, 2016 9:13 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 13,
2016 9:13 AM ET

Arnold Demoski faces several charges on allegations he drove his snowmobile
into two Iditarod trail sled dog race teams on Saturday near Nulato, Alaska.


Arnold Demoski faces several charges on allegations he drove his snowmobile
into two Iditarod trail sled dog race teams on Saturday near Nulato, Alaska.
(Kyle Hopkins/ via AP)

A man accused of intentionally driving a snowmobile into teams of two
mushers near the front of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has apologized
for the incident in a Yukon River village of Alaska, but says he doesn’t
recall what happened.

Arnold Demoski, 26, of Nulato, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of
assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and six counts of criminal

Demoski spoke to KTUU-TV, saying he was returning home from a night of
drinking when he struck Aliy Zirkle and Jeff King’s teams early Saturday


A dog team leaves the start chute of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in
Willow, Alaska on March 6. (Reuters)

The crashes killed one of King’s dogs and injured at least two others. One
of Zirkle’s dogs also was injured. Iditarod officials at first reported King
had been injured. But the four-time champion said later the snowmobile had
missed both him and his sled.

Demoski said when he woke up Saturday morning and heard what had happened to
the mushers, he checked his snowmobile and realized he had done it. The
snowmobile was missing a part and had rust-colored stains, he said.

Demoski said he doesn’t remember the collisions, which the Iditarod
described as apparently intentional attacks.

“I just want to say I’m sorry,” he said.

Zirkle, 46, who finished second three times from 2012 to 2014, was mushing
from Kokukuk to Nulato, a run of less than 32 kilometres on the Yukon River,
when she was hit, race marshal Mark Nordman said Saturday.

The snowmobile hit the side of Zirkle’s sled about eight kilometres outside
of Koyukuk, turned around multiple times and came back at her before driving
off, Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said by email.

The snowmobile reappeared 19 kilometres outside of Nulato. The driver revved
up and was pointed at Zirkle before leaving, Peters said.

Demoski told KTUU that he did not return to harass Zirkle. He said he wanted
to check to make sure she was OK.

‘Someone tried to kill me’

One dog on Zirkle’s team was bruised. Officials described the injury as

Zirkle reached Nulato and told a race official the incident had left her

“I’m really bad. Someone tried to kill me with a snowmachine,” she said on a
video posted to the Iditarod Insider webpage. Snowmachine is what Alaskans
call snowmobiles.

King, a four-time Iditarod champion, was behind Zirkle and fared worse. When
King reached the vicinity 12 miles outside of Nulato, his team was struck
from behind by the snowmobile.

Snowmobile struck dogs at high speed

Nash, a 3-year-old male, was killed. Crosby, another 3-year-old male, and
Banjo, a 2-year-old male, received injuries and are expected to survive.
King told the Iditarod Insider the snowmobile narrowly missed him and his
sled, but hit his dogs at high speed.

“One of my dogs was killed pretty much on the spot, and a couple others I
gave first aid to the best I could and loaded them into my sled,” he told
the Iditarod camera crew. “I kind of felt like a triage ambulance.”

It did not appear to be an accident, he said. “It seemed like an act of
bravado,” King said.

Rural Alaska communities have many wonderful people, he said, but they also
have serious social problems.

“It is beyond comprehension to me that this was not related to substance
abuse,” King said, adding that “no one in their right mind would do what
this person did.”


2 thoughts on “Man ‘sorry’ after snowmobile driven into dogs at Iditarod race

  1. Damn shame! Animals are not for entertainment! Just another example of how this event can be dangerous and life-threatening to people and the animals, who are forced participants. RIP to the precious baby lost and wish the other 2 babies a fast and speedy recovery!! šŸ˜„

  2. I could not believe this when I first read it. Of course, internet comments were quick to blame animal rights activists (I wondered about wolf haters and anti-animal rights activists!) – but turns out, it was a drunk! šŸ˜¦ The hell was someone barreling around so close to the race? I’m not a fan of it – but no self-respecting animal lover would ever hurt an animal to make a point. I might punch out a poacher or rowdy hunter tho, maybe even a rancher. šŸ™‚

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