Snowmobile Accidents in New Hampshire and Vermont on the Rise

Though many snowmobile accidents are caused by driver negligence, not every accident can be avoided. Chittenden Selectman David Sargent was enjoying a day of snowmobiling when he lost control and crashed into a tree.

According to Sargent he was attempting to make a turn when the accident occurred. Previous riders had carved tracks that he could not navigate. Sargent believes that the machines were high-powered and were driven by high-powered riders.

“My ski got into their track and I followed it, but by the time I corrected it an 18-inch maple tree was right there.”

Fortunately, Sargent was taken quickly to an awaiting ambulance and received treatment at North County Hospital. At the hospital, doctors worked to repair the damage to his broken hip.

Police do not believe that speed was a factor in the accident.

Sargent was fortunate. Though he received very serious injuries many lose their lives after a snowmobile accident.

On February 15th Derrick Bourque lost his life after colliding with a tree. Fire and rescue officials worked to save Bourque but according to Colrain Fire Chief Dave Celino his injures were extensive.

“At this point it looks like he hit a tree, and suffered massive injuries to his legs and chest,” said Chief Celino. Bourque was reported to be wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Derrick Bourque was a father of one and a brother to five siblings.

In New Hampshire a woman was injured after falling off the back of a snowmobile driven by her brother. According to reports neither was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Even when all precautions are taken, snowmobile accidents do happen. Excessive speed, inexperienced drivers and reckless handing are all common causes of crashes.

New Hampshire does have laws that govern the use of snowmobiles. These regulations are intended to keep drivers and their passenger’s safe on New Hampshire’s many snowmobile trails.

Jim Hill, vice president of the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) advises even experienced drivers not to become too comfortable.

“Pay attention, that’s the biggest thing,” Hill stated. “Be in control…stay right and always expect to see an oncoming snowmobile.”

After his recent accident, Sargent echoes this statement.

“Be rested and alert the whole time,” Sargent said.


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