After the grim realization of what he’d done had sunk in, Arnold Peter Demoski never denied his actions. And he expressed regret in several media interviews preceding his arrest on suspicion of driving his snowmobile while intoxicated, sideswiping two 2016 Iditarod dog sled teams and killing one dog and injuring five others.
“I’m sorry. I feel bad for what I did,” he said in a March 12 interview with KTUU-TV. On social media, he wrote that he deserved to be arrested and didn’t want to run from his problems – alcohol abuse – anymore. “I’ll do whatever I can to make it right,” he told KTUU.
The 27-year-old Nulato man successfully completed alcohol rehab and has been sober since the incident, he and his attorney told the court. And on December 12, he pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault, reckless endangerment, DUI, and third-degree criminal mischief. In exchange for his guilty plea, the prosecutor dropped nine other charges.
According to the Alaska Courts online database, Demoski was sentenced to five years’ probation, ordered to not possess alcohol for one year, and ordered to pay $36,697 in restitution. (The Alaska Dispatch News and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner both reported that Demoski was also fined $5,000 for DUI and received a sentence of six months in jail, with credit for five months he’s already served).
In court, Demoski also expressed remorse to Iditarod mushers Jeff King and Aliy Zirkle.
ICMN reached out to Demoski on social media on January 8 and left phone messages for his attorney, Geoffry Wildridge, on January 8 and 9. They did not respond. But according to media coverage of the sentencing hearing, Demoski was as remorseful at his sentencing as he was that tragic day in March.
"I am truly sorry from the bottom of my heart for what happened," Demoski said in court, TheAlaska Dispatch News reported. “I hope [King and Zirkle] can find it in their hearts to forgive me someday.”
King and Zirkle did express hope that Demoski would get help.
“There are many wonderful people in these communities, and there’s also very serious social issues in rural communities around Alaska that involve substance abuse,” King told Iditarod Insider after the incident. “I feel sorry for the communities that have to suffer through that.”
Zirkle was quoted in Alaska media as telling Demoski in court, “… there are people in this room who think your life is valuable and I hope you think about that. Your dad thinks your life's valuable. Your baby thinks your life's valuable. Please think about that next time you treat life like it's not worth anything."
Demoski, a father of two, is natural resources coordinator for the Nulato Tribe. He is also listed on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website as a member of the Middle Yukon River Advisory Committee.
At the time of Demoski’s arrest, Nulato Mayor Maurice McGinty told KTUU, "He's a good kid. It's too bad alcohol got the best of him."