ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A rookie New Hampshire musher has decided against running in this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race after her team of sled dogs veered onto a busy Alaska highway and collided with a pickup truck, killing one of the dogs and injuring three others.
Jaye Foucher withdrew from both the world’s most famous sled dog race and a shorter Alaska race, the Willow 300, on Monday, Anchorage television station KTUU reported.
Foucher’s team was struck Jan. 19 on the Parks Highway near the community of Willow, about 75 miles (122 kilometers) north of Anchorage, Alaska State Troopers reported at the time.
Troopers said the team moved onto the busy highway from a trail because of an obstacle. A pickup traveling on the main highway between Anchorage and Fairbanks collided with the dog team.
The pickup driver was among those who helped Foucher and her dog team, troopers said.
One dog died at the scene, three others are still recovering from their injuries and two dogs that ran away after the accident have returned, Foucher said.
Foucher said she will race again with her dogs at some point.
“I don’t think the problem is going to be mushing again, I think the bigger problem is going to be mushing past that spot again,” she said.
Foucher is from Wentworth, New Hampshire but trained in Michigan before moving to Willow last August. Willow is the heart of the mushing community in Alaska and where the 1,000-mile (1,609-kilometer) Iditarod officially starts every March.
One of the dogs hurt the accident, Kona, may need surgery, and Foucher said she may take him back to New England for the procedure. She plans to stay in Willow until the end of spring, just as she had planned before the accident.
Foucher said her dream has always been to run the Iditarod and that people offered her dogs from their kennels so she could still participate in this year’s race.
But she said she wants to run the Iditarod with her own dogs and will wait a year or two for that to happen.