Snowmobiler involved in Chippewa County crash dies at hospital

Contact: Lt. Eugene “Skip” Hagy, 906-293-5131, ext. 4100
Agency: Natural Resources

Jan. 12, 2021

A Huron County man who crashed his snowmobile in Chippewa County earlier this month died Jan. 8 at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.

Richard David Dufty, 55, of Cassville succumbed to injuries he suffered in the Jan. 2 crash along Snowmobile Trail UP 472 (Bobby Gay Truck Trail), in the Hiawatha National Forest, northeast of Trout Lake.

Dufty was riding a 2017 Ski-Doo MXZ XRS 800 E-tec snowmobile within a group of six riders traveling west on the trail.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Mike Olesen and Sgt. Calvin Smith were dispatched to the crash site at 3:35 p.m. EST.

Investigation showed Dufty had passed the other riders in the group at a high rate of speed. When they caught up, they saw a snow cloud in the air at the spot where Dufty’s sled left the trail.

Olesen said Dufty’s sled gradually went off the righthand side of the trail, traveling on a slight corner. Toxicology reports indicated alcohol was a factor in the accident.

Dufty’s snowmobile hit several trees alongside the trail before the snowmobile flipped end over end and Dufty was ejected.

Dufty, with attending EMS personnel, was transported in the back of Sgt. Smith’s DNR patrol vehicle from the crash site along the trail to a waiting ambulance.

After forecasted poor weather conditions prevented air transport to Petoskey, Dufty was taken to McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital by Mackinac Straits EMS personnel. On Jan. 3, Dufty was transferred to the hospital in Royal Oak.

Additional agencies assisting at the scene of the crash included the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office and Michigan State Police.

Including Dufty, four snowmobilers have died from snowmobile crashes in Michigan this winter. Three of the four crashes have occurred in the Upper Peninsula. Last winter, the DNR logged a total of 14 snowmobile fatalities, 10 of which occurred in the U.P.

Conservation officers remind snowmobilers to ride safely, including traveling at safe speeds, not drinking and driving and staying on the right side of the trail.

For more information on snowmobile safety, visit To learn more about snowmobiling in Michigan visit