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UPDATE: Lake Mills woman killed in Dodge Co. snowmobile crash identified

UPDATED Monday, December 16, 2013--- 5:45 p.m.

Many snowmobiling trails are not even open yet, but already somebody has died after crashing in a frozen river in Dodge County.

"You have to have a higher sense of caution when you're traveling out on water way because it can change so often," said DNR snowmobile and ATV safety coordinator, Gary Eddy. "There are some inherent hazards that go along with it every year."

Six snowmobiles took to the river off of N-3000 County Road BB in Columbus. 24-year-old Katie Braasch drove into an open water area, lost control, and hit a tree. Another jumped off after her, but she died and he was severely injured. In this case, DNR officials say alcohol and speed were factors-- the most common in snowmobile crashes every year.

"Wait til you're done riding you're back at your hotel, house, or cabin, and you can drink alcohol there when you're not operating anything. You can ensure you won't be a statistic," said Eddy.

20 people died last winter-- an increase from years past, and this year's season is off to an even earlier start.

"You really can to now unless you're drilling holes through the ice and analyzing it closely," said Eddy.

When trails are closed, you can legally drive on frozen rivers and lakes, but being aware of the conditions first is crucial.

"You have to have an increase sense of safety when you're out on frozen water ways because they can be some bad spots, especially rivers that take longer to freeze over because they have that current," said Eddy.

The DNR suggests talking to a local ice fisherman. They get daily ice reports. You're also required to take a safety course if you're between 12 and 29-- offered online and in the classroom

"It's more or less like a drivers license to ride your snowmobile," said Eddy.

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UPDATED Monday, December 16, 2013 --- 3:56 p.m.

COLUMBUS, Wis. (AP) -- A snowmobile driver was killed and another severely injured on a river in Dodge County.

Sheriff's officials say six snowmobiles were traveling together on the Crawfish River near Columbus Sunday afternoon. One of the snowmobiles began to slide in an area of open water and hit some trees on the river bank. Its operator, 24-year-old Katie Braasch of Lake Mills, was pronounced dead at the scene by MedFlight doctors.

The driver of the following snowmobile saw the crash and jumped off his machine before it crashed into the trees. That driver, a 26-year-old Sun Prairie man, was taken by air to UW Hospital in Madison with severe injuries.

The other four snowmobiles were not involved in the crash.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Monday, December 16, 2013 --- 3:35 p.m.

Authorities have identified the woman who died in a Dodge Co. snowmobile crash as 24-year-old Katie Braasch of Lake Mills.

26-year-old Ryan Fleck of Sun Prairie suffered severe, but non-life threatening injuries in the crash.

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UPDATED Monday, December 16, 2013 --- 10:17 a.m.

COLUMBUS, Wis. (AP) -- A snowmobile driver was killed and another severely injured on a river in Dodge County.

Sheriff's officials say six snowmobiles were traveling together on the Crawfish River near Columbus Sunday afternoon. One of the snowmobiles began to slide in an area of open water and hit some trees on the river bank. Its operator, a 24-year-old Lake Mills woman, was pronounced dead at the scene by MedFlight doctors.

The driver of the following snowmobile saw the crash and jumped off his machine before it crashed into the trees. That driver, a 26-year-old Sun Prairie man, was taken by air to UW Hospital in Madison with severe injuries.

The other four snowmobiles were not involved in the crash.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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Posted Monday, December 16, 2013 --- 7:58 a.m.

A 24-year-old Lake Mills woman is dead after a snowmobile crash in Dodge County.

Deputies were called to a frozen river next to the N3000 block of County Road BB at 4:21 p.m. on Sunday.

Investigators said six snowmobiles were traveling south on the frozen river when the second snowmobile drove into an open water area and began a clockwise slide and struck trees near the east side of the river.

MedFlight was called and the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 26-year-old Sun Prairie man was driving the snowmobile behind the woman, saw the crash and jumped off his snowmobile. The driver was flown to University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison for treatment of severe but non-life-threatening injuries.

None of the other four snowmobiles were involved in the crash.

The names of the victims will be released Monday afternoon.


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