A Minnesota man is in critical condition after crashing his snowmobile in a ditch.
The man was found lying in the middle of the road in Crow Wing County at 4:12 a.m. on Wednesday, according to a news release from the sheriff's office. He was unresponsive and wearing snowmobile clothes. Authorities later identified the man as 47-year-old Brian Andrew Kokesh of Palisade, MN.
After examining the scene, deputies determined that Kokesh had been driving his snowmobile in a ditch along County Rd 32 when he crashed into part of the ditch that was filled with water. He climbed out and walked nearly a mile before collapsing in the road, where he was found by a passerby who called 911, the sheriff's office said.
Kokesh was taken to Crosby Hospital and then immediately flown to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was in critical condition Wednesday afternoon, according to the release.
Authorities later found out that Kokesh’s wife had reported him missing earlier in the evening when he did not come home from a snowmobile ride.
This incident comes just two days after another Minnesota man was killed in a freak snowmobile accident – 22-year-old Wayne Gunnar Anderson of Grand Marais was fatally injured on New Year's Eve after hitting something in a ditch.
According to the DNR report from March, there were 74 snowmobile incidents and three fatalities last winter. The department told GoMN that there have been five snowmobile accidents with injuries, one with property damage, and one fatality (Anderson) since then – that's not counting this incident.
More than half of the accidents that happened last year occurred when the driver struck a fixed object, the DNR says.
They offer these tips to stay safe while snowmobiling:
- Don’t ride in bad weather, and dress properly.
- Plan your trip and check the trails you’ll be riding before leaving. Here’s where to find trail conditions and trail maps.
- Don’t drink and ride – alcohol is a factor in more than 70 percent of all fatal accidents in Minnesota.
- Ride with a buddy so one of you can call for help if something should happen.
- Slow down, stay to the right, and stick to the trail.
- Avoid riding on frozen lakes and rivers.
- Take a snowmobile safety training course.