One dog is dead and at least six more are injured after a snowmobiler purposely rammed into two sled-dog teams competing in the Iditarod early Saturday in Alaska, according to Alaska State Troopers. The AP reports the attacks happened near the village of Nulato on the Yukon River. The snowmobile hit the side of musher Aliy Zirkle's sled, injuring one of her dogs. It made several more passes at Zirkle before driving off. The suspect, who local police believe they've identified, confronted Zirkle a second time later on, revving the snowmobile's engine at her before driving off again. When Zirkle arrived at the race checkpoint in Nulato, she was crying and visibly shaken up, Alaska Dispatch News reports. "Someone tried to kill me with a snowmachine," she says.
The second victim of the snowmobile attack is four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King, whose sled was hit from behind. A 3-year-old dog named Nash was killed, and five other dogs were injured. King himself received medical attention at the Nulato checkpoint. Both mushers say they plan to continue the race. "I”m not gonna let this schmuck take anymore of the fun away," a local reporter quotes King as saying. Dispatch News reports 26-year-old Arnold Demoski called the paper and allegedly admitted to hitting the sled teams while driving blackout drunk on his snowmobile. He denies he was purposefully attacking them. "I don’t care if people know if I was drinking and driving," he says. "I’m really glad (Zirkle) and (King) are OK, and I really feel sorry for Nash." (Read more Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race stories.)