Many snowmobile riders across Iowa are being a little more cautious following a couple of fatal crashes in recent days. A snowmobiler died after colliding with a truck Sunday evening on Highway 151 in Jones County. On Friday night, a Central City man was killed when investigators say he was thrown from his snowmobile after he hit a field fence.
Snowmobilers like Tim Antons and Chris Ostert say snowmobiling is a fun winter sport, but riders must be well aware of the hazards lurking amongst the trails. “There are culverts out in the ditch big enough to take a whole sled, so you really got to watch for them,” Ostert said. “There are fence posts, barb wire, rocks…anything under the surface waiting to get ya,” Antons added.
Ostert and Antons have been riding snowmobiles together around Linn County for the past five years. Ostert said he often rides at night, but takes extra precautions. “You have to because your range of vision is just not there,” Ostert said. “Obviously I don’t go as fast. You have to leave yourself plenty of room to shut down if you need to.”
Even when hitting the trails during the daylight hours, Antons said the first priority is safety. “I try to ride where I see there are already tracks. If I ride where there aren’t tracks, I’m very careful to use logic,” Antons said.
The details of the two fatal accidents over the weekend remain under investigation. The name of the person killed in the Jones County incident has not been released. Friday’s crash near Coggon claimed the life of 21-year-old Aaron Greif of Central City. Another 20-year-old man was with Greif and riding a second snowmobile that also hit the fence, but he suffered only minor injuries.
by Heather Hubbs, KCRG-TV and Pat Curtis, Radio Iowa