Man killed in snowmachine-car collision

Posted: Friday, January 21, 2011

A Soldotna man riding a snowmachine was killed Wednesday evening when he was struck from behind by a car at the intersection of Brown's Lake Road and Seclusion Street, off of Rabbit Run Road.

According to Alaska State Troopers, George Fredrick Larion was thrown from his 2001 Polaris RMK snowmachine when Clarence Helgevold Jr., also of Soldotna, struck the rear of the machine with his 1993 Toyota Camry. Larion, 47, suffered fatal injuries, including broken limbs and severe head trauma. He was declared dead on-scene by responding medics.

Investigation revealed that Helgevold, 59, was driving under the influence of alcohol, troopers said.

An affadavit submitted by trooper Sgt. Odean Hall said Helgevold smelled strongly of alcohol, had bloodshot, watery eyes, and slurred, thick speech. Helgevold failed a series of field sobriety tests. He was then taken to the trooper's headquarters in Soldotna, where he registered a blood alcohol content of .138 two hours after the collision.

At the scene, Helgevold told Hall he was on his way home from a friend's house off Lake Street, where he said he consumed one rum and Coke with dinner. He reported driving along when "he saw something in the roadway," and "realized it was a snow machine and applied the brakes at which time he impacted the snow machine."

Larion and a friend were riding two separate snowmachines on the return journey from checking a trap line. The two exited from a trail along a ditch into the road, and subsequently attempted to pull off again when they heard a vehicle coming up behind them, troopers said.

The State Medical Examiner's office will perform an autopsy.

Helgevold was arrested and is being held at Wildwood Pre-Trial Facility without bail. He is charged with driving under the influence and manslaughter. He pleaded not guilty to both counts during his arraignment Thursday morning.

Helgevold was convicted of misdemeanor driving under the influence and misdemeanor violation of release in a separate case from 2008.

His pre-indictment hearing is set for Jan. 31 at the Kenai courthouse.

Karen Garcia can be reached at karen.garcia@peninsulaclarion.com.



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