Man dies in snowmachine crash in Russian Mission

Tegan Hanlon

A man was found dead and his wife turned up hypothermic after their snowmachine crashed near the Yukon River village of Russian Mission early Christmas morning, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Troopers said a family member found 35-year-old Jeremy Wigley's body on a trail near a Russian Mission lake at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. Wigley had lost control of the snowmachine. It rolled multiple times and he was thrown off, according to a crash scene investigation by troopers.

Earlier that morning, at about 3:45 a.m., Wigley and his wife, Anita Wigley, 31, "had been drinking with friends and after they had been arguing, Jeremy forced Anita onto his yellow and black 550 Renegade Skidoo in front of him and sped off," the trooper report said. The couple was from Russian Mission, as were the friends.

The temperature was about minus 20 that night, said Beth Ipsen, troopers spokeswoman.

Troopers said Anita Wigley showed up at a home in Russian Mission at 4:45 a.m. without shoes and suffering from hypothermia.

"She doesn't remember anything," Ipsen said. "She doesn't remember if she got in a crash."

Ipsen did not immediately know the location of the home where Anita Wigley arrived hypothermic, or how far away it was from the Wigley's residence.

Ipsen said it was unlikely that Jeremy Wigley was set to return home after leaving the friend's house early Wednesday. The route he took with his snowmachine was a "roundabout way to get to a different part of the village," she said.

"We don't know where he was going," Ipsen said. "That's not a route that you would take to go home."

A family member took Anita Wigley to the village clinic for treatment and then began searching for Jeremy Wigley, troopers said.

When the family member found Wigley's body, crash debris covered about 45 feet of the trail leading up to the wrecked snowmachine, troopers said. Neither Wigley was wearing a helmet, according to troopers.

Troopers said Jeremy Wigley's body will be transported to the State Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy. Troopers believe alcohol to be a factor in the crash.

Russian Mission is about 70 miles north of Bethel and about 380 miles west of Anchorage.

Reach Tegan Hanlon at or 257-4589.