WILLOW, Alaska, March 13 (UPI) -- A 26-year-old man was arrested Saturday in connection to the death of an Iditarod sled dog after he allegedly ran his snowmobile into two sled teams during the race.
Alaska State Troopers said Arnold Demoski of Nulato was arrested on two counts of assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and six counts of criminal mischief, Fox News reported. At least three other dogs were injured, investigators said.
Demoski told troopers he didn't intentionally drive into the dog teams of Jeff King and Aily Zirkle. He said he had blacked out while returning from drinking in another village, NBC's 2KTUU reported..
Race marshal Mark Nordman said Saturday Zirkle, who finished second in the Iditarod three times from 2012-2014, was mushing from Kokukuk to Nulato, when her team was hit.
The snow machine hit the side of 46-year-old Zirkle's sled five miles out of Koyukuk and turned around several times coming back at her before driving off, Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters. The incident left one of her dogs bruised.
King, a four-time Idatarod champion, said he felt certain that the snowmobile knew he was on the dark trail, because he had on lights and reflectors. After the snowmobile hit his team, he said he initially thought two of his dogs were dead and loaded them in his trailer, but when he went to check on a third injured dog, one of the two unconscious huskies had come to. The other was killed almost instantly. He said one of the dogs was hit in the face.