December 31, 2013

Fatal snowmobile crash ruled accidental

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.


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.

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