IXONIA — An avid, 36-year-old, lifelong snowmobiler from Ixonia and member of the Concord Center Cruisers, has died while engaging in the sport he loved Wednesday in the Hurley area.
According to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Recreation Warden Justin Bender, Brandon Guenterberg of Ixonia was pronounced dead Wednesday evening in a wooded area near Hurley in Iron County after he hit a series of trees. Guenterberg had strayed from a popular snowmobile trail on which he was traveling.
Bender said Guenterberg had been leading three other snowmobiles Wednesday evening through the darkness on a relatively straight and flat trail. The group encountered a turn, which Guenterberg was unable to negotiate, leading to his crash. The other two snowmobilers were not injured. Guenterberg was alone on his vehicle.
Guenterberg was a member of the Concord Center Cruisers Snowmobile Club and was vice president of Okauchee Redi-Mix Inc..
“He loved snowmobiling from the age of 2 and was always the group leader and human GPS,” his obituary, which appears in today’s Daily Times reads. “Brandon enjoyed being one of the ‘Fellas.’”
The crash remains under investigation, with Bender saying Guenterberg’s incident was one of four fatal crashes in the Hurley area within the past week or so.
Bender said, at this point, authorities are unsure why there have been so many fatal crashes of late along the state border with Upper Michigan. He did say that anything from speed, to a fogged face shield, could have been causes of Guenterberg’s crash.
“Recreational vehicles, such as snowmobiles, don’t have the same kinds of safety components that you find in cars,” Bender said. “There are a lot of novices out there now and they are riding some very powerful machines. I’m not saying that was the case here at all, but there are some serious safety issues out there, in general. These machines are powerful.”
Bender said Guenterberg had been wearing appropriate safety gear at the time of the crash, but still died as a result of blunt-force trauma.
“He died from hitting the trees and there was significant damage to his sled,” Bender said.
Funeral services for Guenterberg are set for Wednesday at noon at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Oconomowoc.