Accident claims life of snowmobiler |

Accident claims life of snowmobiler

A Truckee resident was killed in a snowmobile accident at Squaw Valley when two snowmobiles carrying employees had a near-collision last Friday morning.

Andrew Wayne Miller, 25, a Squaw Valley employee, was pronounced dead when the Truckee Fire District paramedics arrived at the scene, according to a press release issued Feb. 12 by the Placer County Sheriff’s Department.

Passenger thrown off snowmobile

One snowmobile was traveling uphill, one traveling downhill, on a head-on collision course on a ski run at Squaw Valley Resort.

As the two snowmobiles swerved in opposite directions to avoid collision, Miller, who was the passenger on the uphill snowmobile, was thrown from his vehicle into the path of the downhill snowmobile, according to a report prepared by California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Kucera.

Miller’s snowmobile, driven by Gregory Loring of Truckee, was traveling up the ski hill at approximately 50 mph and the oncoming snowmobile, driven by Paul Rzeplinski and carrying passenger Peter Hickey, also both of Truckee, was traveling at approximately 20 mph.

Miller was struck fatally in the head by the left front ski assembly of the downhill vehicle and his death appeared to be instantaneous, according to the report.

The other three, also Squaw Valley employees, were not injured in the accident.

All four employees involved were not wearing helmets, nor were they required to be, said CHP Officer Wes Maehler.

“It’s hard to determine if (wearing a helmet) would have made a difference,” said Maehler. “Certainly it would not have hurt to have a helmet on. Even wearing a flimsy bicycle helmet can help.”

The accident took place at approximately 9 a.m. on a ski run just to the south of High Camp, just below a maintenance building and at approximately the 8,100 foot level, authorities said.

Investigation continues

The four employees were in the process of preparing the mountain for opening the ski day.

Placer County Sheriff’s Deputy Allan Carter is handling the coroner’s investigation. Truckee California Highway Patrol is handling the accident investigation, which is still continuing.

At this time alcohol is not suspected in the accident, the report said.

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