February 23

New Jersey man killed, another injured in separate snowmobile accidents in western Maine

Richard Horton, of Delran, N.J., was killed when he struck a tree in Farmington while a 23-year-old Massachusetts man rolled his snowmobile off Reeds Mill Road in Phillips later Sunday.

By Doug Harlow dharlow@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

FARMINGTON — A New Jersey man was killed Sunday morning in a snowmobile accident on a trail near Holley Road in Farmington, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Richard Keith Horton, 50, of Delran, N.J., was snowmobiling with two friends when his machine struck a tree on the edge of the trail, according to Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Warden Service.

Horton was pronounced dead at the scene by medical personnel.

A previous report stating that a fatal snowmobile accident had occurred in Phillips was incorrect. The accident in Phillips resulted in non-life threatening injuries, according to the warden service.

Wardens reported that neither speed nor alcohol in the Farmington accident appeared to have been contributing factors. Operator inexperience and riding in unfamiliar territory were cited in the fatal crash, MacDonald said.

Horton was operating a borrowed snowmobile.

Game Wardens, Farmington Fire & Rescue, State Police troopers, as well as equipment provided by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation, launched around 11 a.m. Sunday.

The incident remains under investigation and will be reviewed by the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office.

MacDonald said the crash was Maine’s third fatal snowmobile accident this season. The first fatal snowmobile accident happened in Byron on Jan. 31. The second fatal crash took place in Dixfield on Feb. 1 on a public way and was investigated by State Police, according to MacDonald.

Later Sunday at 12:39 p.m. in the town of Phillips, also in Franklin County, MacDonald said the Warden Service investigated a snowmobiling accident with reported injuries on Interconnecting Trail System (ITS) 89 off Reeds Mill Road.

A 23-year-old-man from Lunenburg, Mass., rolled his snowmobile, MacDonald said. The man’s name was not released.

He was reportedly unconscious when game wardens and rescue personnel arrived. Wardens reported the man had recovered with only minor head injury. Alcohol was not a factor.

Wardens again reported operator inexperience as a contributing factor in the accident. Oncoming traffic also was a factor in the accident, MacDonald said.

No charges were filed.

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