AMESBURY — Troy Marden had taken this past weekend off from his new job at the Amesbury Flatbread Co. to go on a snowmobiling trip to Maine with friends.
The 17-year-old high-schooler had been washing dishes at the restaurant only for a little more than a month, but already he was a fixture, with the country music he played while he worked, his cheerfulness, and his impeccable manners, said his manager, Casey Ayers. He was a hard worker, and he loved fishing and the outdoors. He didn’t know it yet, but he was going to get a raise when he got back.
But Marden was killed on Saturday night when the snowmobile he was riding on Thompson Lake in Poland, Maine, hit a snowbank. He was one of two people killed this weekend in snowmobiling accidents in Maine, which has seen five snowmobiling deaths this season. At least four other Massachusetts residents were injured this weekend in snowmobile accidents in New Hampshire.
“Troy Marden was a great young man. He was a quiet, unassuming leader that everyone enjoyed being around,” said Amesbury Public Schools Superintendent Jared Fulgoni. “The impact of Troy’s death on our school and local community will be a great one.”
The crash that killed Marden remained under investigation on Monday. The Maine Warden Service has said he was wearing a helmet, but he was ejected from his snowmobile when he failed to negotiate a corner in the road at around 11 p.m. in an area known as the Heath. The operator of a second snowmobile, who was riding behind him, tried to help Marden before going to get help, officials have said.
At Amesbury High School, where Marden was a senior and a football player, students gathered Monday to grieve. Young men in football jerseys kept their heads down and walked in tight bunches; students hugged and cried. Counselors were available, school officials said.
Marden was an honors student who had already been accepted to six colleges, according to Fulgoni, the superintendent. He played trumpet in the band, had great school spirit, and often wore his senior class sweatshirt. He spent his holidays volunteering with his church.
Marden’s family declined to comment.
Marden was the second person to die in a snowmobiling accident in Maine this weekend. On Saturday afternoon at around 3:35 p.m., 52-year-old Gracie Herrick Onofrio of Norway, Maine was thrown from her snowmobile as she drove on Pennesseewassee Lake in Norway, according to the Maine Warden Service. A second snowmobile from her party struck her. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Three other people have been killed in snowmobiling accidents in Maine this season, including pregnant Gloucester woman Elizabeth Abelson, 30, who struck trees while driving with her husband in Greenwood, Maine, on Feb. 9. Her unborn child was also killed.
At least five people were injured in snowmobiling accidents in New Hampshire this weekend, according to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Law Enforcement Division. Four were from Massachusetts.
On Saturday, a 47-year-old Swampscott woman was injured rolling her snowmobile over on a trail in Gorham while she tried to traverse a small hill. The same day, a 54-year-old Attleboro woman sustained life-threatening injuries when she hit a tree in Low and Burbank’s Grant. A 57-year-old Meredith, N.H., man also sustained life-threatening injuries Saturday when his snowmobile hit a ridge on the ice of Lake Winnipesaukee.
On Sunday, a 38-year-old Lowell woman was hurt in Gorham when she drove into a ditch and hit a tree, and a 37-year-old Fitchburg man sustained life-threatening injuries when his snowmobile rolled on top of him as he drove it on Lake Potanipo in Brookline, N.H.
In some of the crashes, inexperience appeared to be the main factor; in the Lake Potanipo crash, alcohol and speed were likely causes, according to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Law Enforcement Division. Officials in Maine and New Hampshire did not immediately have annual data on fatal and nonfatal crashes, but said accidents on snowmobiles are fairly common.
“People go fast and unfortunately either overdrive the conditions or their experience,” said New Hampshire Fish and Game Conservation Officer Sergeant Dave Eskeland.
Bob Meyers, executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association, said snowmobiles are not inherently more dangerous than motorcycles or cars, he said, but people use them differently — they’re having fun, they’re going fast, sometimes they’re drinking.
“It’s not like driving down the highway,” he said. “You’re out in the woods and help can be a long time coming sometimes.”Evan Allen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.