The Latest: Man arrested in connection with Iditarod crashes

The Latest: Man arrested in connection with Iditarod crashes

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 7:34 p.m. ET

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) The Latest on the Iditarod Sled Dog Race (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

A 26-year-old man has been taken into custody on suspicion of crashing his snowmobile into two Iditarod mushers early Saturday morning.

Alaska State Troopers say Arnold Demoski of Nulato (noo-LAH-toh) is being held on two counts of assault, reckless endangerment reckless driving and six counts of criminal mischief.


A message left for Demoski was not immediately returned. He told the Alaska Dispatch News that he had not intentionally driven into the dog teams of Aily Zirkle (AL-ee ZUR-cul) and Jeff King, but he had blacked out while returning from drinking in another village.

The crashes killed one of King's dogs and injured at least two others 12 miles outside of Nulato. One of Zirkle's dogs also was injured.

Iditarod officials at first reported King had been injured. But the four-time champion said later the snowmobile had missed both him and his sled when it crashed into his dogs at high speed from behind.


1 p.m.

Iditarod musher Aily Zirkle says she thought a man on a snowmobile was trying to kill her after the machine struck her sled outside a Yukon River village.

Zirkle reached the village of Nulato at 2:17 a.m. and says in a video posted on the Iditarod Insider webpage that she was shaken up by the incident.

Zirkle was one of two mushers struck by the snowmobile.

The other was four-time champion Jeff King. He says it narrowly missed him and the sled but smashed into several dogs at high speed.

King says one dog was killed nearly instantly. He gave others first-aid and loaded them into his sled.

King says no one in his right mind would drive a snowmobile into mushers, and he suspects the crashes were related to substance abuse.

The Iditarod video also shows Alaska State Trooper Robert Nunley arriving in an airplane to investigate the incident in the village of 236 people.


8:30 a.m.

Alaska State Troopers are traveling to the Yukon River village of Nulato (noo-LAH-toh) to investigate a snowmobiler who purposely crashed into two teams competing in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race early Saturday morning.

One dog was killed and at least three were injured.

Troopers were called at 2:43 a.m. about the crashes.

Spokeswoman Megan Peters says the snowmobiler first hit the side of a sled driven by 46-year-old Aliy Zirkle (AL-ee ZUR-cul) between Koyukuk (KOY'-yoo-kuk) and Nulato.

The snowmobile turned around multiples times and made passes at her before driving off.

Troopers say Zirkle was not injured, but one of her dogs was bruised.

The same snowmobile approached her again 12 miles (19.31 kilometers) from Nulato but left.

Musher Jeff King was struck by what troopers say was the same snowmobile. One of his dogs was killed.


7:33 a.m.

Officials in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race say a person on a snowmobile early Saturday morning purposely struck two teams in the race.

A dog on the team of four-time champion Jeff King was killed.

Two other dogs on King's team were injured. King received medical attention at the village of Nulato (noo-LAH-toh).

A dog on the team of Aliy Zirkle also received what was described as a non-life-threatening injury.

Race officials say the snowmobiler made repeated attempts to harm Zirkle and her team.

Alaska State Troopers were contacted.

Race officials say a suspect has been identified by a Nulato village police officer.

Zirkle left Nulato at 6:16 a.m. in third place. King reached Nulato at 3:25 a.m. in fifth place.