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February 17, 2014

First snowmobile spin badly injures Florida woman

THOMPSONVILLE — A Florida woman's first spin on her new snowmobile ended badly after authorities said she lost control and crashed the sled into a Weldon Township convenience store.

Benzie County Sheriff's Sgt. Troy Lamerson said the woman, 49, of St. Petersburg, remains in critical condition at Munson Medical Center following the Saturday crash. He said the woman and her son, 8, were making a U-turn in the Mountain View Mini Mart parking lot when the snowmobile accelerated and crashed into the building.

"Both were thrown from the snowmobile," Lamerson said. "It appears the female actually struck the building and the 8-year-old landed in a snowbank."

The woman was transported to Munson by helicopter for her injuries while her child was treated at the scene for minor injuries. Both wore helmets at the time of the crash.

Lamerson said the snowmobile had been delivered to the woman's seasonal home in Frankfort that morning and she was going on her first ride. He said witnesses said it appeared she lost control after accelerating in the parking lot.

"Investigators believe operator inexperience contributed to the crash," he said.

The crash remains under investigation.

In January, an Ohio man was critically injured and airlifted to Munson after he lost control of his snowmobile and struck a tree on the Jordan Valley trail in Antrim County.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources records show seven snowmobile deaths across Michigan this year, including another Antrim County incident in which an East Jordan man was found pinned under his snowmobile in the Echo Township hall parking lot.

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