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Weekend snowmobile accidents claim two lives

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Warmer weekend temperatures brought people outdoors and led to reports of numerous snowmobile accidents in the region, including two that resulted in death.

The St Cloud Times reports that a 51-year-old Buffalo man died Saturday afternoon Silver Creek Township in Wright County. The Star Tribune said that Craig Pietz vaulted a hill, slammed into a snow crest and was thrown to his death. Peitz was taken to North Memorial Medical Center by air ambulance where he was later pronounced dead.

WDIO reported three snowmobile accidents across northern Minnesota and Wisconsin this weekend that left a woman dead and two men injured.

WSAW reported that the fatal accident happened when snowmobile riding on a public trail in Price County, Wis. left the trail, struck a wire and then hit a tree. Seventy-year-old Patricia Curran, of Menonomonee Falls, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Deputies with the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office blamed excessive speed for a snowmobile accident in Voyageurs National Park early Sunday morning. They Mark James Gornick, 54, of Ramsey was injured when he was thrown from his snowmobile after it struck a large snow bank on an icy road.

On Sunday evening, a Duluth man was taken to the hospital after a crash in the middle of Caribou Lake. The Northland's News Center said that St. Louis County deputies rescued Roger Anderson, 55, after he was injured when he lost control of his snowmobile. The accidents remain under investigation.

In December, a 63-year-old Shafer man was killed when a snowmobile he was operating but unfamiliar with accelerated and crashed. According to reports compiled by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, it was the third snowmobile death of the season.

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