Troopers have filed a dozen charges against a Nulato man after he admitted to what two Iditarod mushers describe as attacks on their teams.
On Saturday morning, musher Aliy Zirkle reported that a snowmachine hit her sled while she was between checkpoints. Zirkle told race officials that the rider made multiple passes at her and her team before reaching Nulato. Zirkle was uninjured, and one of her dogs was bruised.
Four-time Iditarod Champion Jeff King was less fortunate. He was hit from behind by what is believed to be the same snowmachine. One of his dogs was killed in the incident, and five more were injured.
Just before noon on Saturday, troopers arrested 26-year-old Arnold Demoski of Nulato for the incident. Demoski is charged with two counts of Assault in the third degree, one count of Reckless Endangerment, one count Reckless Driving and six counts of criminal Mischief in the fifth degree.
In an interview given to KTUU television in Anchorage prior to his arrest, Demoski said he was intoxicated during the incident, and did not mean to cause harm. He added that King was one of his favorite mushers growing up.
Both Aliy Zirkle and Jeff King continued their runs to Nome. King fell from the top five positions to outside of the top 10. As of Sunday night, Zirkle had fallen from second to fourth position.