SAFETY

Snowmobile accident claims life of former Wasatch County rescuer

Jan 13, 2020, 5:46 PM | Updated: 8:10 pm
Snowmobile accident claims life of Former Wasatch County rescuer...
(Credit: Jodi Withers, Facebook)
(Credit: Jodi Withers, Facebook)

MONTANA – A tragic weekend for the Wasatch County Search and Rescue Unit.  One of its former members died in a snowmobile accident.

Doug Baker had volunteered with Wasatch County SAR for 15 years before he moved to Montana.  His wife, Jodi Withers, posted a message on Facebook saying he had found another group of friends to go riding with, and they quickly became like brothers to him.  She said anyone who knew Baker knew how passionate he was about riding.

“It sounds so cliché, but he truly was doing what he truly loved,” she posted.

The accident happened in southwest Montana, but his former teammates don’t know what led up to it.  Wasatch County SAR Captain Cam Kohler says it just shows how dangerous snowmobiling can sometimes be even for highly skilled riders like Baker.

He says, “In rough terrain that’s constantly changing, the unexpected can happen.”

Kohler says rescuing people stranded in the snow ca be almost addictive, and that Baker was one of the best at doing it.  Baker would frequently be one of the first volunteers to arrive when someone needed help.

“In the middle of the night, in the freezing cold, in a blinding snowstorm… it didn’t matter.  Doug was one of the first guys,” Kohler says, adding, “Doug had a passion for snowmobiling.  He loved snowmobiling in the winter and he especially loved going out on his snowmobile to help others.”

Even when conditions were especially bad, Kohler says Baker wouldn’t hesitate.

“There were times when we would hit Strawberry Reservoir when it was 30 below zero.  We’re heading out into that and most people are running for home when it gets that cold,” he says.

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Snowmobile accident claims life of former Wasatch County rescuer