Sgt. Alex Lopashanski
January 21, 2020
Albany, NH – On Friday, January 17 shortly after 10:00 a.m., Peter Gagne, owner of Northern Extreme Snowmobile Rentals in Bartlett was operating a snow machine trail groomer on Bear Notch Road in Albany. He came across Taylor Benard, 46, of Rochester who was lying on the trail. Taylor had crashed at around 9:00 a.m. His machine came to rest well off the trail and he climbed back up to the trail where he collapsed.
The temperature was 5 degrees Fahrenheit and it was windy. In addition to injuries sustained in the crash, Benard was suffering from exposure to the cold. Gagne loaded Benard into the groomer and drove him about six miles back to the trailhead in Bartlett. Bartlett Jackson Ambulance Service initially treated Benard then transported him to the Memorial Hospital in North Conway. He was later transferred to Maine Medical Hospital in Portland for additional care.
Activity in that area on Friday morning was sparse. There is no cellular phone service in the area of the crash and Benard’s effort to place a call for help failed. With the combination of weather conditions and the injuries he had sustained, it is not clear what the outcome would have been had Gagne not found Benard when he did.
Bartlett, NH – On Sunday, January 19 shortly after 3:00 p.m., Jayna Terris, 43, of Oakdale, CT, was operating a rented snowmobile when she failed to negotiate a lefthand turn on the Meadow Brook Trail. She suffered injuries to her hip and upper torso. Her 11-year-old daughter was riding as a passenger and was uninjured. Terris had limited mobility due to a suspected hip injury, but a member of her party was able to place her on the back of a snowmobile and transport her to the trailhead where members of the Conway Ambulance Service treated her and transported her to the Memorial Hospital in North Conway for additional treatment.
Even though it is later in the winter, snowmobile trail conditions resemble what riders would normally find early in the season. Despite the dedication and hard work of the snowmobile clubs,
the weather has been difficult. Many areas were down to an icy base that is now covered with new snow. Riders should be conscious of the fact that with traffic the surface of the trail will erode and produce icy conditions that can be difficult to navigate.