Franklin Countys First News

Four snowmobile crashes this weekend injures five; three in serious condition

game wardens responded to Eustis to investigate a single snowmobile crash in which the operator struck a vehicle on Airport Road

Game wardens responded to Eustis to investigate a single snowmobile crash in which the operator struck a vehicle on Airport Road. (Photo courtesy of the Maine Warden Service)

EUSTIS – The Maine Warden Service is investigating four snowmobile crashes that occurred over the weekend in Maine, including a crash involving a snowmobile and a vehicle early this morning that injured a Eustis man.

According to Cpl John MacDonald, at about 12 Sunday morning, game wardens responded to Eustis to investigate a single snowmobile crash in which the operator struck a vehicle on Airport Road.

Jason Pillsbury, 28, of Strong, was operating a Toyota Tacoma on Airport Road. His vehicle left the road and rolled. A short time later, his friend John Morris, 37, of Eustis, was driving his 2013 Arctic Cat snowmobile on Airport Road and struck Pillsbury’s vehicle. Morris was first transported to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington and then transferred to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston with serious injuries.

The Maine State Police and the Eustis Fire and Rescue Department assisted with this incident. Speed is a contributing factor in this crash, which remains under investigation.

In a separate incident, 28-year-old Ryan Rodgers of Caribou was driving south on Interconnecting Trail System (ITS) 83 in New Sweden at 5:15 Saturday evening, when he collided with a moose. Rodgers was in the middle of a group of nine snowmobiles. Rodgers complained of extreme pain in his left arm and shoulder. His helmet was completely distorted due to the crash. Rodgers was flown to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor with serious injuries. The moose was dispatched by wardens due to severe injuries and removed from the trail.

In a third incident at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, game wardens investigated a snowmobile crash in the town of China off the Stanley Hill Road. When the men encountered a small mound in the field, they were both ejected. The men were able to operate the machine and drove it back to a residence. The two men involved, Kenneth Cormier, 47 (back seat passenger) of China and David Willard, 25 (driver) of Oakland were both taken to Maine General Hospital in Waterville with moderate injuries. Speed was a contributing factor in this incident.

The fourth incident under investigation occurred in Limerick at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning. Game wardens were called to investigate a single snowmobile/operator crash on Sokokis Lake in Limerick. John Ferguson, 50 of Limerick was traveling west on the lake in very foggy conditions when he crashed into the shoreline near Philpot’s Landing. Ferguson was ejected and collided with a shed near a camp. Ferguson’s brother-in-law, Charles Pellegrino, also of Limerick found Ferguson. Ferguson sustained serious injuries and was transported to Maine Medical Center in Portland. Speed was a contributing factor in this crash, MacDonald said.

The Maine Warden Service wants to remind all snowmobilers to be especially careful when driving at night time. Operating at high speeds does not allow for proper reaction time or braking. High speed driving places operators in danger of driving beyond the effectiveness of headlights.

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25 Responses »

  1. Wow...this a problem that is getting out of control quickly. I am hoping for a task force to develop in Augusta proposing sweeping bans on various "scary" snowmobiles. I mean, why does anyone NEED a snow machine that has so many cylinders and go so fast at the flick of the thumb. I hope that legislation will be introduced (hopefully through executive order) that limits the type of snowmobile you can own, such as one that only has one cylinder and is governed at 10 miles per hour. Of course an outright ban, Mr. and Mrs. America, is the only way these tragedies will stop. We can establish a buy back no questions asked program for $50 each. It is beyond the normal person as to why anyone would need to own one.

    On a more serious note...I had to lock up my brakes twice because of a rider stopping by the road, looking me in the eye and then gunning it. I was pretty sure I was going to hit one of them. Guys, have fun riding, but please leave the "bad boy, drive it like you stole it" attitude at home when you hit the trails.

  2. Why they keep making these sleds go faster and faster is beyond me. Cant people just ride to enjoy the ride. Why do they have to be so reckless and stupid?..... Such a fun winter sport is being made deadly and it doesnt have to be.

  3. Every sport or recreational activity comes with risks...that's part of the fun, right? Speed=fun. Racing=fun. People have different things that they enjoy doing. Sometimes we have a lapse in judgement. We have to accept the consequences of our actions. I feel bad that these accidents happened. i am sorry they got hurt.
    That being said..............

    Why do we need to be micro-managed? These people were adults, fully aware of the risks they were taking. They CHOSE to buy, drive, and speed on these sleds. This is America, after all. We need less government, not more. Even if that means loss of life. You can't regulate irresponsibility to the point where we have no freedom left, and that is where we are headed. Think freedom!!

  4. Lol...Dave that cracked me up. Don't forget to ban the ones that are actually slow but look fast.

  5. as usaul something happens and people start talking ban,its not everyone and i enjoy my 3 cylinder and will not give it up to anyone.lets ban cars and trucks that cause more deaths then any snow sled ever . i've riddeen since 1965 and am still ridin today and i dont see a need for a ban on anything unless we ban stupidity in comments ...

  6. I dont agree that snowmobiles should be ban. Not at all... Just toned down some. There is no need for fast sleds on our maine trails. If people want to race them as they do nascar etc. that is fine. There is a time and place for that. And done safely or putting themselves at risk only. Just sayin' they shouldnt be allowed to travel the speeds they do around here.... its not safe for anyone involved.

  7. Ryan, thanks for understanding my sarcasm...Woodsnut obviously did not. Some people just can't seem to read between the lines...

  8. Sorry Woodsnut, but I think you missed the sarcasm in Dave's comment

  9. Dragonfly, the "fastest" sleds have already been made many years ago.Many sleds made around 1999-2001 are still among the fastest there ever was. Its not the sled, its the guy driving them. I drive a new turbocat that has more horsepower then my car, and have no problems keeping it between the fences. However, I was almost hit twice by a couple of geniuses going way too fast on the trails,with older sleds,, and also had to pull a couple of drunks out of the deep stuff after they "failed to negotiate a turn". Fancy talk for drunk while driving a motor vehicle. Like guns, its the person ,not the object.

  10. So much more sympathy when on a sled as opposed to a motorcycle! Be careful out there no matter what you drive!

  11. After 2 idiots almost landed on top of my wife and I on a corner near Jackman a few years ago...
    I took my option to sell my machines and keep off the trails because of these cowboys making it unsafe for everybody else.
    So I'll spend my money elsewhere.
    My Choice.

    You guys can all kill each other now.
    You Bad Boyz You...

  12. Slow down please! If not for yourselves then for those around you! The speed at which many ride is unsafe for pedestrians as well, please share the trail and show some consideration for those walking alone or with their pets. Thank you to riders who do slow down, as someone sharing the trail with you, I appreciate it!

  13. Stupidity is killing people. I vote it be banned.

  14. I cant not believe that one would say to ban snowmobiles!! Until you come up with a way to fix stupid these types of accidents will continue you to occur. Whether it is a snowmobile, automobile, motorcycle or a gun people who have no common sense will always make trouble for those of us who use common sense and do not do stupid things. It is unfortunate that these people make a bad name for those of us who enjoy these types of activities. As the saying goes " you cant fix STUPID"!!!!

  15. Yep, you can't fix stupid!

  16. I can't believe how many people can't recognize sarcasm or wit.....must be the Education system's fault.....

  17. Banemall! Let god sortem out. Bet yet, let Darwin sortem out.

  18. No money down, twenty dollars a month for twenty years and you too can own a machine that will be for sale on your front lawn in four months while you are in rehab for your injuries (stupidity).

  19. Banning thing are stupid just let people ride there sleds and leave them alone.I've groomed trials and I haven't seen anything bad.I have a fast sled yea I play but reasonability is the key....

  20. What about speed limits on trails? Let them Slow down. Use the lakes for racing.

  21. Banning snowmobiles because people act irresponsible is plain dumb......but I have to tell you maybe if we made the idiots pay for the cost of an accident it would be nice! Better yet maybe you should have to take a safety class to drive one like you do a motorcycle and maybe we should take away your license when you prove you shouldn't have one. We all have the right to act stupid but really this is getting ridiculous! SLOW DOWN!

  22. Please!!!! For all that don't understand...I will translate. A school shooting has brought about a possible ban on guns. The proposed ban on snowmobiles above was a sarcastic reflection on the Knee Jerk reaction that we take to address problems. He was being SARCASTIC!!!!

  23. Please realize a school shooting will not bring about a ban on guns, or a seizure of guns. It may encourage laws for background checks for the purchase of any weapon from any seller, and may rule out the purchase of some high capacity magazines.

    Everyone should try being rational and safe when in a car, or on a trail, or riding on a lake...think ahead a little, and be serious about your own safety and the safety of those around you.

  24. Well said (What is that) It is not the gun that kills people it is the person with a sick mind and needs help; It is not the snowmobile that kills ;It is the person sitting on the seat with a heavy thumb putting the throttle to the handle bars; Mainly to see how fast his sled will go.

  25. Did anyone think that some of these accidents with the snowmoblie are alcohol related maybe some stricter law enforcement with drinking and driving instead of slap on the hand for these people. Does it really matter what you are driving.....