FROM/DE: SOUTHERN GEORGIAN BAY DETACHMENT DATE: March 17, 2015
FROM THE DESK OF DETACHMENT COMMANDER ANDREW FERGUSON
(COUNTY OF SIMCOE, DISTRICT OF MUSKOKA, On.) – As we wind down an extremely cold winter that provided area outdoor enthusiasts with exceptional conditions on our trails and frozen waterways, we have recently encountered a number of disturbing events.
Since February 27, 2015, officers under my command have had to respond to a life threatening snowmobile crash on the OFSC snowmobile trail and over the past weekend officers encountered several snowmobile operators who had been consuming alcohol and saw fit to endanger the safety of law enforcement officers conducting patrols on our trails and frozen surfaces.
These officers are on patrol to keep all users safe from irresponsible and impaired snowmobilers who display a wanton disregard for the safety of others, including law enforcement personnel. Serious snowmobile collisions can impact an entire community, as evidenced last weekend by the show of support for a recently seriously injured snowmobiler and his family.
This past Sunday evening officers were interacting with a group of snowmobilers and while they were being lawfully checked for drinking and driving offences, an officer was purposely struck by a snowmobiler’s machine. The snowmobile operator was arrested and has since been charged with impaired operation of the snowmobile, assault police officer with a weapon, as well as several other offences. The officer was treated at the hospital but fortunately escaped serious injury.
On Saturday night officers on patrol were forced off a trail while attempting to lawfully stop another group of snowmobiles. During this incident, a drinking driver was arrested and removed from the trail, however not before an OPP snowmobile was severely damaged. Officers were fortunate and escaped serious injury.
Events like these strengthen our resolve to conduct patrols for impaired drinking drivers and those who do not participate in the sport of snowmobiling with the safety of other trail users in mind. I can assure you that my officers will now be increasing their patrols as long as the weather and trail system allows. We will be patrolling longer into the dark hours and in areas that law breakers are known to frequent.
At this time, I would like to thank, on behalf of the dedicated men and women of Southern Georgian Bay OPP Detachment, the many law abiding snowmobile enthusiasts who have enjoyed the many kilometers of well-groomed trails made possible by the local Georgian Bay Snowriders Club. We look forward to interacting with you on the trails and welcome you back next winter to again enjoy the fabulous tourist and recreation area that Southern Georgian Bay provides.
Inspector Andrew Ferguson
Southern Georgian Bay OPP Detachment
Contact: Provincial Constable David Hobson – Southern Georgian Bay OPP
Phone: Office- (705) 526-3761 Cell- (705) 733-5440
Provincial OPP Communications Dispatch: 1-888-310-1122
Provincial Road Information 511 or www.ontario.ca/trip