Albany

Separate snowmobile accidents leave one man injured, another dead

New York state uses incidents to caution against snowmobiling drunk
Two snowmobile accidents in less than 24 hours, one a fatality, are prompting cautions by state authorities.
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Two snowmobile accidents in less than 24 hours, one a fatality, are prompting cautions by state authorities.

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, Saratoga County

Two snowmobile accidents occurred in the region Friday, resulting in the death of one rider.

A moment of silence was held Saturday at the Amsterdam Castle in honor of the son of an Amsterdam town official who had died Friday in a snowmobile accident. Amsterdam Town Supervisor Tom DiMezza confirmed the death, but said he did not have details as to the circumstances.

“It’s absolutely horrible for anyone to lose a child. They are a strong family, in time they will get through this,” DiMezza said.

State police confirmed that a fatal accident had occurred Friday. But on-duty officers Saturday were unable to release the name of the person or the circumstances.

In the other incident, state trooper Thomas Burroughs said Brian Scott, a resident of Burnt Hills, broke his collarbone after his snowmobile overturned Friday at approximately 4 p.m. at the shoreline of Vandenburg Point in Mayfield.

Scott was transported to Nathan Littauer Hospital for treatment of his injury. Burroughs said the report indicated that alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

“According to the trooper’s report, it looks like he hit an ice heave and rolled over,” Burroughs said. It appears, Burroughs said that “two separate levels of ice that cracked and then moved, leaving one point higher than the other” was the cause of that incident.

Fulton County has had at least two fatal snowmobile accidents this season.

Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino said in early February that he was aware of seven snowmobile fatalities throughout New York this winter season, about half of the 2016-17 snowmobile total of 15 deaths.

State warns against drunk snowmobiling

The New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Saturday warned snowmobilers that it’s against state law in  to snowmobile drunk.

“Alcohol use and imprudent speed are the most common factors behind snowmobile crashes,” state parks acting Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said. “We urge snowmobilers to avoid alcohol, drive within your abilities, within speed limits, and to reduce speeds during inclement or nighttime operation.”

According to the release, snowmobile drivers can be charged with Snowmobiling While Ability Impaired (SWAI). The penalty for a SWAI conviction can include a fine up to $350, jail time up to 15 days, and a suspension of snowmobile privileges for six months. A second type of SWAI charge involves driving a snowmobile while under the influence of drugs.

Similar to a DWAI charge, the SWAI charge is a misdemeanor offense that can be brought against any snowmobiler who operates the vehicle while on drugs.

If convicted, an SWAI charge can bring harsh penalties, including a fine up to $500, jail time up to 90 days, and a one-year suspension of snowmobile registration. 

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