Snowmobiler dies in surgery after crash
By JOHN PEPIN, Journal Munising Bureau
MUNISING — An Ohio man involved in a snowmobile accident Saturday died during surgery at Marquette General Hospital, becoming the seventh rider to die in a snowmobile-related crash this winter in the Upper Peninsula.
Stephen Hrivnak, 39, of Columbiana, Ohio, was traveling along the north shoulder of M-28 in Munising Township when he crested a hill with a steep drop-off.
Michigan State Police troopers from the Munising post said Hrivnak’s sled went airborne and struck a large metal electric meter box.
The accident occurred at about 11:40 a.m. in Wetmore on private property in front of the AmericInn Lodge and Suites. The meter box Hrivnak struck services the motel.
Friends who were riding with Hrivnak called 911. Troopers responded along with an ambulance crew dispatched from Munising by the Alger County Sheriff’s Department.Hrivnak was rushed to Munising Memorial Hospital where he was evaluated and initially treated. Police said he was then taken to the trauma unit at Marquette General Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery for internal injuries suffered in the crash.In a release, police said: “Unfortunately, injuries incurred were too severe and the surgery was unsuccessful.”
Troopers said Hrivnak was not familiar with local trails and was traveling in an area not normally used by snowmobilers. Typically, snowmobile traffic in front of the AmericInn runs parallel to M-28 but closer to the highway than where the crash occurred.
“Mr. Hrivnak left the normal area of travel in an environment he was unfamiliar with,” police said.State police are encouraging all riders to stay on trails and in areas designated for snowmobile travel.
“Always travel at safe speeds that allow you to control your snowmobile at all times,” police said. “If you leave a designated snowmobile trail, please do so only in areas you are very familiar with to avoid unforeseen hazards.”
So far this winter, 15 riders have been killed across Michigan, including the seven in the U.P., according to statistics provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.The fatality is the first snowmobile rider death recorded in Alger County this winter. The six other deaths have occurred two each in Ontonagon and Gogebic counties and one each in Chippewa and Schoolcraft counties.
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