Pair charged after daredevil snowmobile stunt Saturday
By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
MEREDITH — Officers arrested two men Tuesday on charges they staged a stunt involving a high-powered snowmobile skimming across the open water of Weirs Channel and pulling a barefoot skier.
John Vachon, 28, and Patrick Keefer, 32, both of Meredith, were released shortly after arrest, New Hampshire Fish and Game Col. Kevin Jordan said.
Vachon was driving the bright yellow MXZ Ski Doo 600 and Keefer was the water skier in the Saturday stunt, Jordan said.
Video of the act lit up social media but disturbed officers who must respond when daredevil action goes wrong.
In the video, which can be seen at https://tinyurl.com/hzt2z6t, the snowmobile can be seen going across ice, then on the water while pulling a person who is seen wearing water skis and then kicking them off and speeding along barefoot.
"The troubling part of it is when some people see others doing these crazy stunts they try to imitate it and they don't all go well," Jordan said.
Investigators were able to quickly solve the case because images of those involved were on YouTube and Facebook. A gofundme.com page was even set up to raise money to pay criminal fines.
Both men face disorderly conduct charges and Vachon faces the additional charge of skimming a snowmobile across water.
They each face fines of more than $500 and are to appear in Laconia District Court in April.
"I'm just glad they're alive to go to court, and hope that people will understand that this is not superhero behavior," Jordan said. "It was ludicrous and reckless."
He fears someone will try to mimic the stunt and that someone will get injured or killed. Emergency response crews could also be put in needless danger.
Even though snowmobiles are heavy, some can skim across water if they are driven fast enough and other conditions are just right.
Laconia Fire Chief Ken Erickson said the law against skimming was passed because people died trying to do it.
In some snowmobiles, a drive belt will come off, acting like an anchor and causing the machine to quickly drop. If the driver slows or hits debris, the snowmobile can also go down.
"I'm just glad it didn't end in disaster," he said.
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