Snowmobiler Dies, Others Hurt in a Weekend Full of Accidents 
by
Karen Ladd
Colebrook News and Sentinel

February 22, 2012

N.H. Fish & Game is investigating a snowmobile accident in which a Sunapee man died early Saturday morning on Piper Hill in Stewartstown. The holiday weekend drew heavy traffic to the North Country, keeping Conservation Officers and local fire and rescue units busy with several snowmobile accidents and two machine fires.

A Sunapee man died early Saturday morning in a single-machine crash on Piper Hill in Stewartstown. Jason Montambeault, 36, was reportedly riding with two friends at around 1:30 a.m. when they parted company. They last saw him "crossing a field, heading in the direction of his camp," according to a Fish & Game press release.

"In the following hours, Mr. Montambeault friends became more concerned when he did not show up at the camp, but believed that he may have gone to visit family at another camp." The next morning friends contacted Mr. Montambeault's cousin, who was staying at a neighboring camp with some friends. Searching the area near the camps on snowmobile, Mr. Montambeault's cousin located the accident scene and his body off of Trail 21A, about two miles from the camp.

The accident was reported at 8:45 a.m., drawing Beecher Falls Rescue, Fish & Game Conservation Officers, and N.H. State Police to the scene, in a field just behind the Gilbert residence at the top of Ladd Road. "The accident is still under investigation," said Fish & Game Sgt. Wayne Saunders, "but speed and alcohol both appear to be contributing factors."

Sgt. Saunders said Mr. Montembeault missed the Trail 21A opening after crossing the field, striking a stump and falling off the machine, where he suffered "severe injuries" from contact with the stump, some trees and barbed wire. "The sled kept going, up an incline and traveling about 45 feet," he said. Mr. Montembeault was not wearing a helmet, but "it wouldn't have saved him," Sgt. Saunders said.

Weekend of Accidents

Two other accidents occurred on Saturday afternoon, both around 2 p.m. The first happened at the vintage races in Errol, but investigating Conservation Officer Geoffrey Younglove was not available for a report as of press time yesterday.

N.H. Fish & Game cited a Massachusetts rider for speed, after he allegedly struck two other machines at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday. Conservation Officer Adam Cheney said Richard Roberts III, 29, of Leverett, Mass., was southbound on Corridor 20 when he came over a rise, and "the two other people he hit said he was in the middle of the trail, traveling at a high rate of speed."

Mr. Roberts' machine was damaged and he suffered a left leg injury in the crash, but no one else was hurt. He drove to Trailside Rental in Pittsburg to call for help, and from there the 45th Parallel EMS transported him to UCVH. He was issued a summons for operating at unreasonable speed, accident resulting, Officer Cheney said.

A Rhode Island man was seriously injured when his sled shot into some trees at Back Lake in Pittsburg, around 10 a.m., Sunday. Officer Cheney reported that David Roberto, 64, had crossed the lake from Tall Timber, the first in a group of four riders approaching the beach, when the accident occurred.

"From what everyone saw, he was attempting to turn onto the trail where it goes across Beach Road," Officer Cheney said. "They saw him trying to brake, and his sled shot out into the woods with him on it. He had those hand protectors on his handlebars, so they don't know if his glove got stuck on the throttle."

Pittsburg Fire & Rescue responded to the scene and the 45th Parallel EMS transported Mr. Roberto to Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital. From there he was flown to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, suffering from a concussion, multiple rib fractures, fluid in the lungs and a fractured vertebra, according to Officer Cheney.

He said Mr. Roberto was wearing a helmet, was well outfitted and is a responsible rider. "There's no sign he was operating recklessly, or anything like that," the officer said. "It wasn't a fast impact, maybe only 30 miles per hour, but he hit a tree just right. It sounds like mechanical failure might've been the cause for this one."

A Hudson, Mass., woman was injured in a snowmobile accident on Halls Stream Trail in Pittsburg, reported at 2:50 p.m. on Sunday. Jennifer Chiasson, 51, reportedly failed to negotiate a corner at the end of a downhill, straight stretch of the trail. As the machine left the trail it carried her into some trees, causing minor damage to the machine and leaving Ms. Chiasson with a broken right leg.

Pittsburg Fire and EMS, 45th Parallel EMS, Pittsburg Police Department and Fish & Game personnel responded to the scene, on Trail 142 just north of the Halls Stream Connector junction. DHART (Dartmouth Hitchcock Air Response Team) transported Ms. Chiasson from a landing zone a few hundred feet from the scene at 4:18 p.m. to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon. The crash is still under investigation, but Conservation Officer Glen Lucas said alcohol was not involved.

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