A report received Wednesday morning: Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating a fatal snowmobile accident that occurred in Whitley County this morning. At approximately 1:45 am the Whitley Co Sheriff's Department Dispatch received a 911 call informing them of a snowmobile accident in a field in the area of the 2000 block of west county road 200 N.
At the time of the accident two snowmobiles were traveling west bound on county road 200 N just west of county road 150 W. One of the snowmobiles, operated by 21 year old Justin Hinen of Columbia City intentionally left the roadway and continued heading west across an open field along the north side of the road. After traveling a few hundred yards across the open field, the snowmobile struck a multi stranded wire fence enclosing a livestock pasture. The driver of the other snowmobile still traveling on the roadway observed the accident and immediately called 911.
When emergency personnel arrived on scene, the operator of the snowmobile involved in the accident was unconscious and unresponsive. CPR was immediately initiated but all life-saving attempts were unsuccessful and Justin Hinen was pronounced deceased at the scene. The cause of death appears to be blunt force trauma to the neck but an autopsy will be conducted later today to determine the exact cause of death.
The accident remains under investigation by Indiana Conservation Officers and the Whitley Co Coroner's Office. Assisting at the scene of the accident was the Whitley Co Sheriff's Dept., Columbia City Police Dept., Thorncreek Twp. Volunteer Fire Dept., and Whitley Co EMS.