Man dies in 'freak accident' on snowmobile in Klamath County


Klamath County Sheriff's Deputies are out this weekend in popular snowmobile areas to bolster safety following a fatal accident that took the life of a Benton County man enjoying recreation in Klamath County.

"We can't be everywhere," Lt. Randy Swan from the Klamath County Sheriff's Office said. "We actually had deputies in our south county area on snowmobiles on Saturday trying to prevent just such accidents from occurring. But again, we do not have enough resources and a large amount of area to cover."

Investigators said the body of Jacob Charles McGarry, of Philomath, Ore. was recovered Saturday after he died in a snowmobile accident. It happened about 12:30 p.m. in the Schoonover area south of Crescent, Ore. The area is popular for recreation and a number of vacation rentals and cabins are inaccessible by anything but off-road vehicles this time of year.

Swan said the 21-year-old victim, who currently resides in Corvallis, Ore, was visiting family and friends at a nearby cabin when he went out on the snow machine to get supplies.

Swan said McGarry was in control of a snowmobile with one rider and traveling adjacent to the railroad tracks near Schoonover 1 and Riverview Street when they were thrown from the snowmobile.

"Investigation revealed McGarry came in contact with a guidewire off a power pole. The crash caused a fatal injury to McGarry, but the rider was unharmed," Swan said. "He was wearing a helmet."

Swan said investigators consider the incident an accident.

"I think it is a freak accident," Swan said. "Driving snow machines or any kind of off-road vehicle is inherently dangerous and obviously safety precautions need to be taken. I am not being told of any safety precautions that were not used in this particular instance. However it is just an unfortunate accident, from my understanding."

The remote area of the recovery was a challenge for first responders.

Crews from the Sheriff’s Office, US Forest Service Law Enforcement, Crescent Fire, and Central Oregon Cascades Fire had to use ATVs and snow machines to access the crash site.

"There was limited access. Obviously, vehicles and regular 4x4s couldn't make it. They had to utilize ATVs and snow machines in order to get up where they were at," Swan said.

An Airlink helicopter crew were also in route to transport any injured parties, but no transports were needed.

In the press release, the Sheriff's Office said they extend sympathies and condolences to McGarry's family and loved ones.

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