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Sheriff’s deputy in ICU after snowmobile crash


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STANLEY — A Custer County Sheriff’s deputy is in the Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center ICU after a snowmachine accident Saturday afternoon.

Ronald Pumphrey was riding with three other friends in the Seafoam area near Stanley around 1:30 p.m. when he ran into a tree stump.

His friend, Steve Stroud, said Pumphrey was riding up a hill that was “steep enough you couldn’t stop.” Stroud said Pumphrey rode partway up the hill, turned around and on his way down, he crashed.

“I don’t know why, but he slammed right into a big tree stump that was tipped over,” Stroud said. “He center punched the thing.”

Stroud and his wife were riding down below when the accident happened. Another member of their party was with Pumphrey and radioed to Stroud, “We got an emergency.” Stroud took off to find help and call first responders.

Around 3:15 p.m., the Custer County Sheriff’s Office received a call about the injured snowmobiler, a press release said. About 15 minutes later, Custer County Search and Rescue began looking for Pumphrey.

Stroud disputes the account of Custer County Search and Rescue looking for Pumphrey and said that didn’t happen. The sheriff’s office did not offer any further comment.

At one point, when Stroud was on the trail seeking help, he crossed paths with a group of six snowmobilers from Arco. Kirk Robertson was part of that crew and said they’d heard a medical helicopter circling above. Once they were told what was going on, they left with Stroud to assist.

Six hours later, around 9:20 p.m., Two Bear Air rescue picked Pumphrey up. They took him to the Challis airport, where he was transported by air to the hospital.

Stroud said Pumphrey broke six ribs and lacerated his liver and spleen. He continues to recover in the hospital.