DNR's No. 2 hits, injures man while snowmobiling

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 23, 2010 - 9:18 PM

The second-ranking official in the state Department of Natural Resources, riding in a snowmobile industry event in a state park, struck and slightly injured another machine operator just after the man got off his sled, authorities said.

DNR Deputy Commissioner Laurie Martinson hit Kale R. Wainer, of Delano, in St. Croix State Park on Feb. 12, injuring Wainer's left leg, according to a DNR accident report obtained from the Pine County Sheriff's Office.

No citations are expected, said Steve Ovick, chief deputy of the Sheriff's Office.

According to the accident report, a snowmobiler lost control, entered the woods and struck a tree. Wainer, who works for Arctic Cat, stopped his machine and began walking toward the driver who crashed. Martinson then hit Wainer in the left leg driving a snowmobile registered to the state.

On Tuesday night, Martinson said, "I take this very seriously and I've ordered an accident review."

Wainer said in an e-mail that his leg is great and he didn't have to stay in the hospital long. Martinson felt terrible about what happened and tried to do all she could to avoid the accident, said Leland Owens, a DNR conservation officer who was on the ride but didn't witness the crash.

Martinson, along with Gov. Tim Pawlenty, was participating in the Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association Winter Rendezvous, when the crash occurred at the head of the Rapid Roads and Piedmont Trail.

Pawlenty can sympathize with his DNR official. In 2005, he crashed a $7,000 Polaris ATV during a ride at the spring convention of the All-Terrain Vehicle Association of Minnesota. The governor drove over a stump near Hill City, causing his machine to glance off a tree, doing $2,500 in damage. Pawlenty was not hurt and Polaris officials paid for the repairs because they owned the ATV.

PAUL WALSH

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