First responders weigh in on this year’s SNIRT Run

Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 5:29 PM EDT
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LEWIS COUNTY, New York (WWNY) - It was a busy weekend for ATV and UTV enthusiasts in Lewis County as the SNIRT Run brought thousands to the region. But with it came an increase in the need for help from first responders on Tug Hill.

“We put three ambulances on the hill spaced out, just on this upper portion and then you have the volunteer ambulances in the south that are staged to take care of the southern portion,” said Josh Levesque, chief of operations at Lewis County Search and Rescue.

He says crews were busy as there were 11 reported ATV-related crashes, not all happening during the designated hours for the event.

One in the Martinsburg area led to the death of one woman, her ATV exiting the roadway and hitting a utility pole. Police don’t believe alcohol or speed were factors in that incident.

However, Lewis County Sheriff Mike Carpinelli says those two things are leading causes of other crashes.

“People, they override their ability, they over drink past their limit and they do stupid things, that is just what it is,” he said.

Carpinelli says he witnessed a lot of self-policing - many riders telling others to slow down and to be more cautious while out on the road.

Levesque says the weekend wouldn’t be able to run without volunteers, but it does come at a cost.

“The cost is fuel, the cost is equipment. There is a significant expense that goes into pre-planning for this and the functionality that sometimes is missed,” he said.

Carpinelli says some local organizations put out safety messages to the community to try to prevent these crashes from happening but he says there is always room to do more.

Barnes Corners Sno-Pals, which runs the event, wanted to wait until after an upcoming meeting to reflect on this year’s SNIRT Run.