Musher’s dog killed when team crossed busy Alaska highway

A file image of a musher and sled dog team at the Happy River Steps on March 14, 2021, during the Iditarod, in Alaska. (The Associated Press)

A dog was killed and another ran off after a pickup collided with a sled team

A dog was killed and another ran off after a pickup collided with a sled team that was crossing a busy highway in Alaska.

The musher was identified as Jaye Foucher of New Hampshire, who has been living in Willow since August, training for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Anchorage television station KTUU reported. Before settling in Willow, she had previously trained in Michigan.

Her team was struck Wednesday on the Parks Highway near Willow, about 122 kilometres north of Anchorage, Alaska State Troopers reported.

Troopers in an online post said the team moved onto the highway from a trail at highway mile marker 75 because of an obstacle. A pickup traveling on the main highway between Anchorage and Fairbanks collided with the dog team.

One dog dead, two injured

The driver assisted the musher and dog team, along with others, troopers said. One dog died at the scene, and another ran off into the woods. Two injured dogs were taken to a veterinarian.

Troopers say no people were injured, and no criminal charges or citations have been issued.

Foucher has about 35 dogs in her kennel, and planned to compete next week in a shorter race, the Willow 300, leading up to the nearly 1,609-kilometre Iditarod, which starts in March.

“This was my Willow 300 team that just got hit, so I honestly don’t know if I even have a team for Willow 300 or Iditarod because they just knocked out,” Foucher told the Anchorage television station.

“The dead dog was one of my main leaders … two of the more injured dogs are two others of my main leaders, so I may not even have a front end left anymore. I can’t even wrap my head around that yet,” Foucher said.

Another Iditarod musher, Ryan Redington, saw two dogs injured in northern Wisconsin earlier this month when a snowmobile veered into Redington’s team on a trail. The Bayfield County Sheriff’s Office was investigating.

Related stories from around the North: 

United States: Norway ambassador visits Alaska to talk climate, Russia and, yes, Norwegian dog mushing success, Alaska Public Media

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