There has already been a steady drumbeat of snowmobile fatalities this winter, and in this morning’s Watertown Daily Times, Steve Virkler gives a synopsis of the picture in Lewis County.
With the fourth snowmobile-related fatality of the winter Monday afternoon, Lewis County is in the midst of its deadliest season on record, and officials are urging caution in hopes of avoiding further tragedies.
“Be cautious,” Lewis County Sheriff L. Michael Tabolt said. “Watch your speed. Wear a helmet. Watch for your surroundings. And use common sense, too.”
Meanwhile, the Utica Observer-Dispatch is reporting that a total of seven people have died on sleds in their area, which includes Lewis County.
A Rochester-area teen became the seventh person in the region to be killed in a snowmobile accident this year.
Daniel DeSanctis, 16, of Webster, was operating a snowmobile on the Osceola-Michigan Mills trail at about 2:45 p.m. Monday when he lost control of his sled and veered off the trail, according to Lewis County sheriff’s deputies.
And just last weekend, a Malta man named Boris Alvarez died in a crash in Washington County.
Police reported that speed and alcohol were factors in the crash, but the investigation into the crash and a toxicology report are pending. An autopsy performed at Glens Falls Hospital determined that Alvarez died of internal injuries to his chest and abdomen.
So what do you think? Is this the unavoidable side-effect of a popular outdoor sport? Evidence of unsafe equipment and riding practices? Bluntly, it seems to me that so many bodies warrant some tough questions.