YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There are many dangers people can face in the winter months, from snow and ice on the roads to the risk of exposure, but a tragic accident in New York is shining the light on how vulnerable children can be this time of year.
Thirteen-year-old Joshua Demarest and his friend Tyler Day became trapped in a snow fort they built after a snow plow came by and dumped hundreds of pounds of snow on top of them.
The boys’ families reported them missing when they didn’t come home.
Police located the boys’ sleds and later found them under the snow bank. Demarest was found unresponsive and died. Tyler is recovering from hypothermia.
Heavy piles of snow build up on roads and parking lots across the Valley this time of year. Those large mounds are no place to play and can be hazardous.
Canfield Officer Steve Garstka said kids should be as far away from the road as possible when they are outside in the winter.
“You want to make sure that you are very far away from the road. If a car slides and goes off the road, they can end up in your yard. So, the backyard is a good place to stay,” Garstka said.
Garstka also suggests having your child check in often when they are outside playing in the snow. He says he hasn’t experienced any accidents involving snow plows and children playing, but there were some involving vehicles.
Keep in mind, too, that some large mounds created by snow plows can contain rocks and large chunks of debris that could cause injury and a child could fall through.
Chuck Shasho, director of public works for the City of Youngstown, says it’s critical to stay out of the way of snow plows. Children playing close to the road could easily get hurt and drivers should be cautious, too.
“The trucks are throwing material off the back. The snow is coming off the blade at a very high rate as they are going down the street. It can impair your vision for pedestrians, and it can be very dangerous getting in the way of those operations,” Shasho said.
If you’re in your car, don’t follow too closely and give yourself plenty of room behind the plow and try not to pass.