High snowbanks are being blamed for an Aroostook County collision between a snowmobile and a pickup truck.

Corporal John MacDonald with the Maine Warden Service says 48-year-old Mark Sutherland of Sterling, Massachusetts was unfamiliar with the trail when he missed a stop sign at the intersection of connecting trail 96 and East Road in T17 R3 Wels, near Long Lake. Wardens say the unusually high snowbanks obscured the sign, so his riding partner says Sutherland continued into the plowed roadway at around 3:30 yesterday afternoon.

As the sled entered the intersection, a pickup truck driven by 68-year-old William Laplante was traveling west. The sled struck the front grill and bumper of the truck, as well as the plow frame with enough force to spin the truck completely around. Sutherland was taken to Cary Medical Center in Caribou for treatment of a broken leg, as wells as possible injuries to his pelvis and ribs. His helmet was broken in the crash. Laplante was not hurt.

Game Wardens are working with members of the Gateway Snowmobile Club, who maintain the portion of trail where the crash happened. Officials say the club has been very responsive and are working to make the intersection more visible and clearly marked. With unusually high snowbanks in the area, Wardens are urging riders to use extreme caution when intersecting and crossing roadways.

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