Troopers: Aniak teen dead after airborne snowmachine hit him

Casey Grove

An Aniak man faces manslaughter, assault and drunken driving charges after launching his snowmachine into the air Thursday night and striking two teenagers, killing one, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Philip Simeon, the suspect, called troopers in the Western Alaska village about the collision near the west end of the airport's runway, alongside the Kuskokwim River, about 9:45 p.m. Thursday.

Simeon, 26, had been driving a snowmachine along a ditch and was nearing the end of the ditch when the snowmachine went airborne, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said. Simeon's snowmachine was flying through the air when it hit another snowmachine and two 15-year-olds standing next to it, Peters said.

"It doesn't sound like it was an intentional jump. He went up and over and hit the handlebars of the other snowmachine, which was also parallel to the ditch," Peters said.

One teenager suffered minor injuries and was not taken to the village clinic, Peters said. Initial reports seemed to indicate the other teen, Dakota Nicholi, also only had minor injuries, she said. But Nicholi died a short time later after receiving treatment at the village clinic, the troopers spokeswoman said.

"From what I understand, he went downhill very fast," Peters said. "We really have to wait for the autopsy to see if he was impacted by the snowmachine, or the handlebars, or maybe hit his head."

Nicholi's body will be flown to the state Medical Examiner's Office in Anchorage, troopers said.

The Aniak troopers investigated further, collecting blood and breath samples from Simeon, said Peters, who declined to reveal the test results.

Reach Casey Grove at or 257-4589.