Racing legend arrested at site of fatal snowmobile crash also lost son-in-law … – Syracuse.com

Lyons, N.Y. — DIRTcar racing legend Alan Johnson was out riding his snowmobile with a few friends early Friday morning in Lyons when he saw emergency responders on the snow-covered road ahead.

Johnson’s son-in-law was killed last February in a snowmobile crash. Johnson knew that some of the members of his group had raced out ahead of him on the trail. He feared the unthinkable had happened again.

12328948-large.jpgRyan Baye was killed in a snowmobile accident in February. His father-in-law Alan Johnson was out snowmobiling with a group early Friday morning when Kory Rauscher, 26, died in a crash. (Courtesy of Danielle Baye, Ryan’s wife) 

“It was disbelief,” Johnson said of his reaction to learning from those on scene that Kory Rauscher, 26, had been badly injured. “I just tried to figure out if he was OK.”

Rauscher didn’t survive. The Waterloo man — himself the son of a racing legend — died after hitting a guardrail and being thrown from his vehicle, according to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.

The crash occurred on Old Lyons Road around 3 a.m., the sheriff’s office said.

Johnson, 56, of Middlesex, was charged with operating while intoxicated and operating with a blood-alcohol content greater than 0.08, the sheriff’s office said. Robert L. Daldry, 42, of Waterloo, was charged with the same crimes.

Johnson admitted to having “a couple of drinks” before setting off snowmobiling with the group that included Rauscher. They had eaten chicken wings and pizza and played a few rounds of darts before setting off, Johnson said.

Johnson said he didn’t know if Rauscher was drunk at the time of the accident.

“I have no idea,” Johnson said. “It was just a tragic accident.”

About eight inches of snow fell on the region overnight, according to the National Weather Service. Johnson said that the snow — as well as speed and “a dozen contributing factors” — likely caused the crash.

Johnson said he didn’t know Rauscher well. Johnson said his step-son Matt, who was with the snowmobiling party that night, was best friends with Rauscher.

Johnson was in Florida when he learned that his son-in-law Ryan Baye, 35, had been killed on Feb. 23, 2013, in an accident in the town of West Turin. Baye was riding on a groomed snowmobile trail when his skis turned sharply to the left, according to The Post-Standard’s archives.

Baye was with his four-year-old son when the fatal crash occurred, Johnson said.

Johnson speculated that faster models of snowmobiles could be leading to more accidents. When he was young, snowmobiles maxed out at 40 mph. They now go up to twice or three times faster that, Johnson said. (He added that he was not saying Rauscher was speeding.)

Fourteen people were killed in snowmobile accidents in New York State in 2012, a report from the state’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation says. Since 2006, 100 people have died in snowmobile accidents.

“I wish I knew what could be done about it,” Johnson said.

Johnson left Sunday afternoon for Rauscher’s funeral. He said Rauscher’s family and friends are doing “as well as can be expected.”

“They’re all together, thinking about the memories,” Johnson said. “There’s some smiles — and a lot of tears.”

Racing legend arrested at site of fatal snowmobile crash also lost son-in-law … – Syracuse.com

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Posted by on Jan 6 2014. Filed under RACING. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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