A distraught mother rushed to her son’s aid after his snowmachine pulled out in front of her pickup at Mile 16.5 on the Hope Highway on Saturday.
“The first thing I heard was my mom screaming ‘oh my god’,” said Randy Sorenson, 16, who was riding on a blue Polaris snowmachine when he crossed the highway without looking and was struck by a white Chevrolet pickup his mother was driving.
Randy Sorenson was taken to Provence Hospital in Anchorage by helicopter where he was operated on for two broken bones in his left leg. The accident also resulted in a stretched nerve in the leg, an injury that could result in a permanent limp.
“I’ve never felt such pain before,” Randy Sorenson said. “I didn’t really think I was going to make it. I thought I was gone. ... If I wasn’t wearing that helmet I’d be dead right now.”
His mother, Dru Sorenson, 49, of Hope, was traveling east when the accident occurred and was reportedly driving about 30 mph when the accident occurred. Dru Sorenson was wearing her seat belt and sustained no injuries.
“She blames herself a lot,” Randy Sorenson said. “I totally know it was my fault, but it took a while for me to convince her of that.”
The snowmachine was totaled and damage to the truck was estimated at $4,000.
Randy Sorenson said he has been riding snowmachines on his own since he was about 7, and said that although he has learned some lessons due to the accident, has no plans to retire his passion for snowmachining once he has recovered.
“I’ll jump right back on that sled. Well, not that sled,” he said.
According to Alaska State Trooper Mike Zweifel, the highway was snow-packed and icy when the accident occurred.
The accident serves as an important reminder to snowmachiners about the importance of watching for traffic and wearing safety gear, Zweifel said.
“The injury could have been a lot worse had he not been wearing a helmet,” he said.
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