GREIG — A Delmar man driving a utility-task vehicle Saturday incited a police chase down Route 26, through several county and seasonal roads and onto a private ATV trail. He out-drove police until his UTV ran out of gas.
Sheriff’s deputies said they observed Gregory S. Blanchard, 33, of Delmar, drive through the backyard of a residence at the Carpenter Road and Route 26 intersection in the town of Turin, at 8:17 p.m. When they attempted to stop Mr. Blanchard, he continued onto Route 26, refusing to stop.
Mr. Blanchard drove his 2015 Polaris RZR 1000R south onto Route 26. He led the pursuit down several roads until he left the roadway off of Fish Creek Road in the Town of Greig. He tried to flee onto a private ATV trail there and soon ran out of gas, deputies said.
State police and state Forest Rangers assisted deputies with the case.
Mr. Blanchard refused all sobriety tests both at the scene and after being transported to the Lewis County Public Safety Building, police said.
Authorities charged Mr. Blanchard with driving while intoxicated, two counts of unlawfully fleeing a police officer, six counts of failure to stop at a stop sign, moving from lane unsafely, speed not reasonable and prudent, failure to keep right, improper U-turn, improper use of portable electronic device, avoiding an intersection and refusal to take a breath test.
He was arraigned in Town of Turin court, where he posted $200 cash bail and was released. His UTV was impounded at the sheriff’s office. He is to answer charges in Turin and Greig town courts at a later date.
Renee Bush, who lives in the house at the intersection, said it wasn’t her backyard the man drove through, and that she is not sure whose yard it would have been.
“They are constantly coming down that hill,” she said. “It’s just a lot.”
Earlier that day, a woman lost control of her ATV due to excessive speed and snow-covered roadways, deputies said.
Crystal L. Green 34, of Winthrop, was traveling northwest on the Worth road when she lost control and her ATV exited the roadway down a small embankment, overturned, and ejected Mrs. Green into a small creek.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and the Lorraine Volunteer Fire Department assisted at the scene, and Mrs. Green was transported by ambulance to Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, for treatment of unspecified injuries.
“I’m thanking the angels that were by my side within seconds,” Mrs. Green said after the event. “I am sore and I have bruises, but I was amazed at the wonderful people that jumped in to help me. I didn’t get any names, but fellow riders gave me warm clothes and so much help.”
Sgt. Shaun D. Cuddeback of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department said that its office helped Lewis County authorities during the SNIRT run event.
The Jefferson County office responded to 11 cases and issued five tickets, he said.
The deeper snow helped keep speeds down in many areas, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said. Four DEC officers issued nine tickets for operating on closed roads and two tickets for uninsured operation.
According to the DEC, 12 Forest Rangers were assigned to state lands on Saturday. They responded to one collision and assisted sheriff’s deputies at one incident. Rangers issued 10 tickets for prohibited use on closed roads, one no-helmet ticket, and one registration ticket.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Department has not yet responded to calls for information about the number of cases it attended to.
The office hosted a press conference on Friday, the day prior to the SNIRT run, to display its newly purchased UTVs.
With accessories and a trailer, the two side-by-side 2018 Polaris RZR 900 Series UTVs cost $37,762.
The purchase was approved by the Board of Legislators. The vehicles do not meet New York State ATV laws, but will be exempted as emergency vehicles.
Representatives said that the UTVs will allow members of the sheriff’s office to access more remote parts of the county, and to assist in search and rescue efforts.