Snowmobile crash critically injures driver

and the Associated Press

Snowmobile accidents over the last several days have kept area law enforcement personnel busy.

A Shawano man is in critical condition at Theda Clark Regional Medical Center in Neenah after he was injured in a Saturday morning snowmobile accident.

According to the Shawano County Sheriff's Department, 30-year-old Allen Lee Surprise of W5665 County Trunk BE, suffered chest injuries after his snowmobile tipped over on the Mountain Bay Trail in the area of 1501 E. Green Bay St., Shawano.

Surprise was found about 4:20 a.m. on the trail with his snowmobile tipped over, apparently unconscious, but breathing. He was flown by Theda Star Helicopter to Theda Clark Regional Medical Center after receiving initial treatment at Shawano Medical Center.

Surprise was issued a citation by a sheriff's deputy for operating a snowmobile while under the influence.

Shawano County deputies had reports of at least two other snowmobile accidents over the weekend, but neither appeared to be as serious as the Surprise accident.

Meanwhile, snowmobile fatalities in Outagamie and Forest counties during the weekend boosted the number of such deaths in the state this season to 34, equaling the record set during the winter of 1996-97.

A 17-year-old Fremont boy died early Sunday when the snowmobile on which he was a passenger left a marked trail north of U.S. 10 and just east of Outagamie County Trunk D in Dale and hit a tree, officials said.

Michael M. Colden died of massive head injuries at the scene, Coroner Ruth Wulgaert said.

The driver of the snowmobile was taken to Appleton Medical Center. Alcohol was a factor in the crash, according to Wulgaert.

Chad W. Seitzer, 26, of Green Bay died in another accident early Sunday.

Seitzer's companions went back to look for him when he didn't arrive at their destination near Ada Lake, and they discovered the accident just off the trail adjacent to Wisconsin 52 in the town of Freedom, the Forest County Sheriff's Department said.

The sheriff's department and the state Department of Natural Resources were investigating the accident.

Twenty people died in Wisconsin snowmobile accidents last winter.

By Leader staff writer
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