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Thumb-area snowmobiler dies days after crash in Upper Peninsula

Investigators say Richard David Dufty of Caseville sped past his group and crashed into some trees
 Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer badge. (DNR graphic)
Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer badge. (DNR graphic) (WLUC)
Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 11:07 AM EST
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HURON COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - A snowmobiler from Huron County died Friday, nearly a week after he crashed in the Upper Peninsula.

Richard David Dufty, 55, crashed his snowmobile Jan. 2 on Trail UP 472 in the Hiawatha National Forest near Trout Lake in Chippewa County. Investigators say Dufty of Caseville was riding a 2017 Ski-Doo MXZ XRS 800 west on the trail when he passed the rest of his group at a high rate of speed.

The group saw a cloud of snow and noticed Dufty’s machine drove off the right side, hit several trees, flipped over and threw him off, according to Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers. Authorities say Dufty may have been intoxicated at the time.

A DNR conservation officer transported Dufty off the trail to a waiting ambulance, which rushed him to McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey. Poor weather conditions prevented a helicopter from airlifting him downstate to a larger trauma center that day.

A helicopter was able to fly the following day and Dufty was transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak on Jan. 3. He was pronounced dead from his injuries there on Jan. 8.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says four snowmobilers have died in crashes so far this winter -- three of them in the Upper Peninsula. Last winter, there were 14 snowmobiling deaths in Michigan, including 10 in the Upper Peninsula.

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