CHAMPLAIN — Nicholas "Nick" R. Roberts died after he was thrown from his snowmobile when it hit a ditch on Sunday afternoon.
The 21-year-old Champlain man was driving the green 2003 Arctic Cat ZR 900 northwards in a cornfield at about 2 p.m. near 872 Route 9 not far from the Route 11 intersection when the accident occurred, according to State Police.
He was found hours later; Clinton County Dispatch received the 911 call at 6:16 p.m.
Roberts was taken by ambulance to CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh, where he was pronounced dead at 8:15 p.m. by Dr. Rebecca Foster, police said in a press release.
It appeared he had been wearing a helmet, authorities said, but the impact of the crash threw it off his head.
An autopsy on Monday performed by Dr. Jolie Rodriguez determined Roberts died of multiple blunt-force injuries.
Clinton County Coroner David Donah ruled his death accidental.
'HAD YOUR BACK'
Roberts, son of Robert and Gail Roberts of Champlain and one of four brothers, graduated from Northeastern Clinton Central School in 2011 and attended Clinton Community College.
He had recently been hired as a correction officer at a Vermont facility, friends said.
Darren Velodota of Mooers was 12 years old when he first met Nick. They were friends throughout their years together at Northeastern Clinton Central School and had many common buddies.
"He could always brighten up the day," Velodota said on Monday evening. "He definitely loved to have a good time."
They shared a common passion for anything motorized, including cars, all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles. Nick loved Ford Mustangs and raced at Napierville Speedway in Quebec, his friend said.
Velodota was on his way home from Plattsburgh with a group of their friends when the cellphone call came, telling them Nick had died.
"It just went silent," he said.
The two of them had gone snowmobiling together last Tuesday, and he last spoke with Nick on Saturday night.
Velodota said his dear friend is going to be sorely missed by a wide circle of friends and family.
"If you ever got in trouble, he always had your back."
'CAN'T BELIEVE IT'
Nick's girlfriend was Camille Piche, according to his Facebook page, and friends of them both posted messages for her.
"Sorry for your (loss) Camille - he was a good guy he is gonna be missed by many ..." wrote Jeffery Garrand.
"... he was (an) awesome guy and very loved by many," Jeremy Guay wrote.
Matt Passno of Rouses Point expressed his sense of loss on his own page.
"... I was riding with you yesterday n today your gone. Nick Roberts you were the best friend anyone could ever ask for from helping each other out to just the friend ship. I'm lost man, wish u were still here, I just can't believe I lost one of my best frinds RIP"
"Deffinently gunna miss all the good times between going out and having fun and all the good times mud bogging, you'll be missed by many - fly high buddy ..." wrote Dylan DeCoste of Mooers Forks.
"Just found out one of my best friends died today..." Chris Page of Ellenburg wrote on his own Facebook page. "don't really know how to take it. RIP my friend we'll see each other again one day!"
'LIKE A BROTHER'
Janet McFetridge of Champlain learned of Nick's death on Facebook.
"We were just sick about it — it's heartbreaking."
Her son Connor Herdic played hockey with Nick when they were growing up, and teammates' families came to know one another well over the years.
"We're all a huge extended family in the North Country," McFetridge said. "When a tragedy (like this) strikes, it just ripples through the whole community."
Former classmates and friends of the young man shared that grief.
"Nick I didnt know you all that well but you had helped me out this summer ...," wrote Andrew Favreau of Rouses Point. "... Keep an eye on your family - they are going to have a great guy looking down on them! RIP buddy."
"Words can't even describe what's going on right now," Justin Guerin of West Chazy posted on his own page. "you were like a brother to me and we had some crazy times still can't wrap my head around this happening you will be greatly missed rip man love ya."
'LOVE YOU DEARLY'
Brenda and Roy Cardin of Champlain were Nick's godparents.
"Your contagious smile and outgoing personality touched so many lives," Mrs. Cardin mourned him on her Facebook page. "Aunt Brenda and Uncle Roy love you dearly and are proud of your achievements.
"We are honored to call you our godchild. You are forever in our hearts ..."
Email Suzanne Moore: firstname.lastname@example.org