The man who crashed his snowmobile into two dog sled race teams on March 12 during the 44th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, killing one dog and injuring four others, has turned himself into the village police.
Arnold Demoski, 26, of Nulato, was arrested and faces two counts of third degree assault, one count of reckless endangerment, one count of reckless driving and five counts of fifth degree criminal mischief. Bail was set at $50,000, according to KTUU Channel 2.
Demoski told the news station that he was riding home from a night of drinking when he made contact with Aliy Zirkle’s dog sled team, injuring one of her dogs. Demoski reportedly made three passes at Zirkle, who defended herself with a trail marker, until the man left the scene.
Demoski targeted her later in the race but left without incident, KTUU Channel 2 reports.
He then crashed into King’s team about an hour later, hitting the back of his sled, killing his 3-year-old dog Nash and injuring two others, Banjo and Crosby. Nash was the grandson of Salem, a famous lead dog, according to a statement sent to Channel 2 by Carrie Skinner of Jeff King’s Husky Homestead Tours.
Demoski was apparently so drunk that he didn’t realize that he crashed his snowmachine into the racers until he heard about the tragedy on the news the next morning. He told the news station he realized what he had done only after he checked his snowmachine and found that it was missing its hood and there were stains on the sides of the machine. That’s when he contacted the village police officer to confess. In a Channel 2 video, Demoski says that what he did was not intentional, like the papers were reporting.
“I didn’t turn around to continuously attack them like the papers are saying, that is not me, I don’t do stuffed like that,” he said in the video. “I just want to say I am sorry. I feel bad for what I did, and do whatever I can to make it right. I’m sorry to Jeff King and Aly Zirkle. I am really sorry for the dog’s loss. It wasn’t intentional, I didn’t mean to do it.”
Despite the tragedy that befell them, King, a four time Iditraod champion, and Zirkle, a three time runner up, are still in the race.