August 23, 2019

Three injured in collision of snow sleds

FORT KENT — The weekend was another tough one on northern Maine snowmobile trails with law enforcement officials reporting a dozen accidents in Aroostook County and northern Piscataquis County.

While many of the accidents involved mostly property damage, a couple of incidents did involve injuries and, in one case, a coastal Maine man was summoned to court for driving to endanger.

Jacob Ouellette, 24, of Stonington, a Fort Kent native, was treated at Northern Maine Medical Center in Fort Kent on Sunday for fractured ribs after being involved in a three-snowmobile pileup.

The accident happened just after 11 a.m. Sunday near the Fort Kent-Wallagrass town line on ITS 85. Ouellette was taken from the scene by a rescue sled and then the rest of the way by ambulance to the hospital. Two others suffered minor injuries in the incident.

Game Warden Charles Richard said Ouellette was southbound on ITS 85 in a curvy, heavily wooded area when he noticed a sled coming toward him.

Ouellette, according to the report, hit the brakes and the back end of his sled slid around striking a sled driven by Maurice Pelletier, 49, of Fort Fairfield, which pushed Pelletier off the trail. Ouellette’s sled continued forward, striking a sled operated by Jeffrey Shuler, 41, of Caribou head-on.

Pelletier bruised his left hand and left leg. Shuler also had a hand injury. Both were treated at the Fort Kent hospital and released.

“Speed was involved, to some degree,” said Richard. “Ouellette did not have control of his sled under the conditions he was in.”

Ouellette was issued a summons for driving a snow sled to endanger.

The sleds owned by Pelletier and Shuler, 1998 and 1999 models, respectively, were destroyed in the accident. Damage to Ouellette’s 1998 sled totaled about $500.

Three hours later in Portage, an 11-year-old girl was injured with possible rib and leg fractures when she and her sled were struck by a vehicle. She was taken to The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle.

Maine State Trooper Corey Hafford said Alicia Collins of Portage was attempting to cross the West Cottage Road in Portage while riding a 1991 snowmobile. She failed to look both ways before crossing and drove the sled into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Goffrey Leblanc, 17, of Ashland was traveling east when his 1999 four-wheel-drive GMC Yukon hit the sled broadside.

The sled was a total loss and there was minimal damage to Leblanc’s vehicle.

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