ATV driver swerves into team, kills dog

Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The driver of an all-terrain vehicle intentionally swerved into a sled dog team on a trail in North Pole, injuring the musher and killing one dog, Alaska State Troopers said.

Two other dogs were injured, one critically. The ATV also drove up on the sled and broke it. The musher's hand also was broken.

Jeff Holt, 42, of North Pole, was training the dogs on a trail near his home so his daughter could run the Junior Yukon Quest in two weeks.

''It's crazy,'' said Trooper Ronnie Simmons. ''The whole family is devastated.''

Simmons said based on Holt's statements and tracks leading up to the accident, the collision between the green Polaris six-wheeler and the sled dog team was intentional.

Troopers did not know the identity of the ATV driver Friday night.

Holt told troopers the ATV was coming toward him and as the vehicle got closer, Holt waved his headlight back and forth.

''He said there was no way he didn't see him,'' Simmons said.

Tracks in the snow indicated that the ATV was driving on the right side of the trail and crossed over the path at the point of the impact, Simmons said.

''It looked like he intended to hit the dogs,'' he said. ''He stopped on the left side of the trail, took three or four steps and asked the musher if he needed help.''

When Holt said yes, the driver returned to his six-wheeler, drove the ATV across the path again and headed south, leaving Holt behind with a broken team, sled and hand.

Anyone with information is being asked to call troopers at 451-5100.

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