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Mushing legend Lance Mackey arrested for DUI

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch
Since his last Iditarod win in 2010, Lance Mackey has struggled, both professionally and personally. The dog team that led him to numerous victories burned out after running thousands of miles over the years. Loren Holmes photo

Four-time Iditarod and Yukon Quest champion Lance Mackey was arrested for driving under the influence and refusal to submit to a chemical breath test in Fairbanks Sunday.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that Mackey, 43, was stopped at 2:07 a.m. Sunday morning in Fairbanks for speeding and rapid acceleration. Another officer responded and told the other officer that Mackey had been spotted in the Kodiak Jack's bar earlier that evening and he appeared to be intoxicated. Mackey was driving the 2008 Dodge Charger he traded for the Dodge Pickup he won for winning the 2008 Iditarod.

According to charging documents obtained by the News-Miner, officers detected a strong odor of alcohol on Mackey, slurred speech, watery eyes and difficulty maintaining balance. Mackey failed field sobriety tests and registered a breath-alcohol content of 0.147, almost twice the legal limit.

Mackey later refused a chemical breath test at the Fairbanks police station and was charged with failing to submit to the test.

Mackey is one of the most popular and well-known figures in dog sled racing. Mackey, the son and brother of a former Iditarod champions, rose from hardscrabble early years to become a legend in the sport -- winning four consecutive Iditarods from 2007 to 2010 and four 1,000-mile Yukon Quests from 2005 to 2008 -- winning both the Quest and Iditarod back-to-back in 2007 and 2008. Before Mackey, the thought of competing in both, let alone winning them, seemed out of reach for most mushers.

While many mushers have gone on to compete at high levels in both, none have won both in the same year.

But since his last Iditarod win in 2010, Mackey has struggled, both professionally and personally. The dog team that led him to numerous victories burned out after running thousands of miles. While he has been optimistic about his chances at a comeback, none of his teams have made the cut. He finished a disappointing 19th in 2013 and scratched from this year's Yukon Quest at the halfway point in Dawson City.

Mackey has spoken openly about his personal struggles as well, including his battle with cancer and marital struggles. Mackey's former wife, Tonya, was charged with assaulting Lance in an Anchorage hotel parking lot in 2012. The two have since divorced.

Court records show Mackey was arraigned Sunday and posted $3,000 bail. A hearing was set for July 24.