2 girls air lifted after Bernardston ATV accident


Recorder Staff

Monday, May 26, 2014
(Published in print: Tuesday, May 27, 2014)

BERNARDSTON — Rescuers took two girls out of the woods on Monday following an all-terrain vehicle accident, both with injuries.

The two 13-year-olds were riding an ATV in woods behind the home of one of the two on Huckle Hill Road when the accident occurred Monday afternoon, according to Fire Chief Peter Shedd.

“There’s quite the ravine down here and a curve, and apparently they lost it on the curve and the ATV and everything went over,” Shedd said.

One girl broke her leg, the other had a head injury and some minor scrapes, Shedd said, the head injury such that the girl lost consciousness for several minutes.

Both were taken by ambulance to Greenfield to meet with a LifeFlight helicopter ambulance, the second taken from the woods shortly after 4:30 p.m. Shedd said the decision to transport the two to a larger hospital was made in part because their parents could not be reached.

Bernardston firefighters, state and town police and MedCare ambulance crews carried the two out of the forest one-by-one on the Bernardston Fire Department’s ATV-towed rescue trailer.

Shedd said it appeared both were wearing helmets. As they are minors, their names and therefore conditions could not be obtained Monday. Environmental Police Officers will handle the investigation.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 413-772-0261, ext. 257


In light of the above incident, we felt it neccessary to provide the community with some helpful information and links.  This does not imply there were any violations involved, but rather for your informational purposes...This and more information regarding Recreational and Boat Safety can be found at


Summary of Off-Highway Vehicle Safety Laws

The following abstract summarizes some important Massachusetts recreation vehicle laws. For the complete law refer to Massachusetts General Law (MGL) Chapter 90B (Sections 20-35) and 323 Code of Massachusetts (CMR) 3.00.


“Recreation vehicle” or “off-highway vehicle” - Any motor vehicle designed or modified for use over unimproved terrain for recreation or pleasure while not on a public way. This includes all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, dirt bikes, and recreation utility vehicles. Also included are all registered motor vehicles when operated off of a public way.

“All-terrain vehicle” – a motorized recreation vehicle designed or modified for travel on 4 low pressure tires and having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control.

“Dirt bike” – a recreation vehicle that is a lightweight motorcycle, equipped with two in-line wheels, designed for operation on unpaved surfaces, dirt roads, and trails.

“Recreation utility vehicle” or “utility vehicle” – a motorized flotation tire vehicle with not less than 4 and not more than 6 low pressure tires that is limited in engine displacement to less than 1,500 cubic centimeters and in total dry weight to not more than 1,800 pounds and that has a seat that is of bench design, not intended to be straddled by the operator, and a steering wheel for control.


*No person under 18 years of age shall operate a recreation vehicle or recreation utility vehicle unless he has successfully completed an approved recreation vehicle safety and responsibility course. For information, contact the Boat & RV Safety Bureau.

*No person under the age of 16½ shall operate a recreation vehicle across a public way unless directly supervised by an adult (18 years of age or older). The public way and the crossing must be marked and approved for recreation vehicle use.

*No person between 14 - 16 years of age shall operate an all-terrain vehicle or a recreation utility vehicle with an engine capacity greater than 90 cubic centimeters. When operating such vehicles 90 cubic centimeters or less, persons between 14 - 16 years of age must be directly supervised by an adult.

*No person between 10 - 14 years of age shall operate a recreation vehicle unless directly supervised by an adult while in preparation for, or while participating in, a sanctioned race, rally, or organized event which has been approved by a municipal permitting authority. If operating an all- terrain vehicle or a recreation utility vehicle, engine capacity must be equal to or less than 90 cubic centimeters.

*Persons under 10 years of age may only operate an age/size appropriate dirt bike under direct adult supervision while in preparation for, or while participating in, a sanctioned event which has been approved by a municipal permitting authority. Preparation for such an event may only occur on private property.

PROHIBITED OPERATION - The following are some examples of prohibited operation;

*Operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

*Operating on public ways or upon or across a controlled access highway.

*Failure to come to a complete stop when crossing an approved public way (must yield to motor
  vehicle traffic).

*Operating at an unreasonable, improper, or unsafe speed for existing conditions.

*Operating on land of another without written permission of the owner.

*Operating within 150 feet of a residence without permission of the owner.

*Operating a vehicle which emits noxious fumes or makes excessive noise.

*Operating in a manner that causes damage to public or private property.

*Operating on an ocean beach or sand dune in a manner so as to destroy, damage or break down any beach,     dune or dune grass.

*Operating in a manner so as to harass or chase wildlife or domestic animals.

*Operating on any public property not designated for recreation vehicle use.


Persons operating, riding on, or being towed by a recreation vehicle shall wear an approved helmet. Each recreation vehicle must also be equipped with an adequate braking system. An adequate muffler designed to reduce unusual or excessive noise and noxious fumes is required. Each recreation vehicle must be equipped with one or more headlights, a red rear light and red rear reflector when operated after sunset. A trailer attached to a recreation vehicle must have a red rear reflector.

Registration, Decals and Trail Permits: Recreation vehicles operated on public or private property must be registered through the Massachusetts Environmental Police, except if used exclusively for agricultural, forestry, lumbering or construction purposes. Application for said exemption is required. Out-of-state recreation vehicle registrations are not valid in Massachusetts.  The assigned registration decals shall be firmly attached to both sides of the vehicle and located so that both are clearly visible. The validation date shall be displayed on the left side of the vehicle. The registration certificate shall be in the possession of the operator. For further registration information, contact the Massachusetts Environmental Police.

Accidents:  The operator or owner of a recreation vehicle involved in a collision, accident or other such casualty resulting in death or injury to a person or damage to property in excess of $50.00 shall notify a law enforcement officer immediately and file a written report of the incident with the MA Environmental Police within 48 hours. To obtain report forms or further safety/legal information, contact the Boat & RV Safety Bureau.

Violations:  To report violations of recreation vehicle or snowmobile laws, or other environmental or wildlife laws, contact the Environmental Police Radio Communications Center at 1-800-632-8075.


There is always going to be people in our society trying to Scam our honest citizens. Scams are common from a variety of professions, i.e. painters, driveway paving, roof repair, and chimney repairs are a few.

There are ways you can help yourself before becoming victim. Here are a few simple tips;

1). Get a business card and tell the person(s) you're going to check them out first.

2). NEVER make a same day decision. They will pressure you to do this, commonly saying you'll save money, but this is the first sign of a scam. If it's too good to be true, it probably is a Scam.

3). Ask for references.

4). If they are not from the area, this should raise your suspicions. There are many qualified and quality contractors within Franklin County or surrounding Counties.

If the contractor becomes too pushy for your liking, call your local police department.
Another was to research a qualified contractor and you have access to the internet, check the Better Business Bureau at http://central-westernma.bbb.org/

Bernardston man facing charges after shooting out of window

Recorder Staff

BERNARDSTON — A local man has been arraigned on multiple weapons charges after allegedly firing a handgun out of his bedroom window to scare off some friends.

Steven R. Rice, 24, of 703 Brattleboro Road, was charged with three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (a handgun), discharging a firearm near a highway, carrying a firearm without a license, and possession of an assault rifle, all felonies.

On Dec. 28, 2011, police were called to the residence by Rice, who told them he thought his friends were siphoning gasoline from his vehicle. His friends told police they were there to confront Rice, because one of them thought Rice ran over his mailbox. They told police that Rice had fired a single shot from his bedroom window after they arrived.

Rice told police that the noise his friends heard was a firecracker. Police asked him if he had any more, and he told them it was just the one. They were unable to find any remnants of the firecracker.

Rice admitted that he had a gun, and on request showed Sgt. Brian Ravish a silver .22caliber Ruger pistol. In his report, Ravish said that, as he smelled the pistol to check for the smell of burned gunpowder, Rice told him that it smells like gunpowder because he never cleans the weapon. Ravish said Rice’s friends identified the Ruger as the weapon fired.

Ravish then asked Rice if he had a license to carry a firearm, and Rice said he did not. Ravish checked, and Rice had neither an LTC or a firearms identification card, and that Rice’s mother, who also lives there, had an LTC that expired in 2006. Because nobody in the residence had an FID or LTC, Ravish confiscated several firearms, to be held at the station until one of the Rices applied for either of the firearm permits.

Additional weapons confiscated include an AK-47 assault rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, two .22-caliber rifles and a .308-caliber rifle.

Rice is due back in Greenfield District Court on March 12 for a pretrial conference.

Man charged with shooting car’s tires in Bernardston

Recorder Staff

GREENFIELD — A drug deal gone bad is the alleged trigger that led a North Adams man to shoot out the tires of a parked truck and attempt to break into a home to get his money back.

Mitchell Ciempa, 22, of 1409 Massachusetts Ave., is being held on $20,000 cash bail following his arraignment in Greenfield District Court on Wednesday.

Ciempa pleaded innocent to a firearms violation with a prior violent or drug crime conviction, malicious destruction of property over $250, malicious damage to a motor vehicle, armed burglary and two counts of discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building.

According to Bernardston Police, on the evening of Nov. 21, Ciempa and three friends allegedly traveled to Ware with $550 to purchase drugs.

The buyer left the car and promised to return in 15 minutes. When that didn’t happen, the remaining three in the group got a message saying that the buyer had been arrested by the Ware police, and when that was found not to be true, the group was told that the buyer had returned to Bernardston with the money, according to police.

The group returned to the house on Bald Mountain Road to which the person who had taken the cash had returned, and Ciempa began banging on the door and demanding to be let in, police said.

When the people inside the house refused, Ciempa allegedly tried to enter the house by forcing open the garage door, damaging it, and then took a pistol and fired two shots at a parked truck in the driveway, flattening two of its tires.

The group then fled in a brown Kia Rio as police were being notified.

According to witnesses, the gun, described as a .22-caliber handgun, allegedly belongs to Ciempa’s grandfather.

After witnesses were interviewed and evidence gathered, an arrest warrant was issued for Ciempa, who was apprehended about 8 p.m. Tuesday.

According to Bernardston Police Chief James Palmeri, state and North Adams police assisted as well as the State Police Special Tactical Operations Team (STOP).

Police said that Ciempa has multiple prior convictions on violent crimes and weapons charges.

He is due back in court on Jan. 3.

You can reach Bob Dunn at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 413-772-0261, ext. 268

Fatal collision in Bernardston Sunday
Press Release From The Northwestern District Attorney's Office
Date: 11.08.2011

A Brattleboro, Vt. teen died in a two-car collision on Route 10 in Bernardston, Mass. on Sunday afternoon.

Daniel Bliss, 17, was operating a Subaru Outback when it merged from Mount Herman Station Road (Rt. 142 South) onto Route 10 South, where it was struck broadside by an SUV traveling south on Route 10.

A passenger in the car that Bliss was driving, Rita Corbin, of Hinsdale, N.H., is being treated for serious injuries at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.

Five people in the SUV, including the driver, Nichole Trovato, 19, of West Townsend, Mass., were transported by ambulances to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, in Brattleboro, Vt., where they were  treated and released.

Bernardston police initially responded. Assistance at the scene was provided by Trooper Dave Sanford of the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section and Trooper Erin Karella of the State Police Crime Scene Services Section-Springfield.

Members of the Bernardston and Northfield Fire Departments also assisted.

The accident remains under investigation.

 bpd new sign

A special "Thank You" to all Kiwanis and United Church members for their generous donation for the construction of our New Sign!

waldron donelan

(photo from Greenfield Recorder)

Lt. Scott Waldron and Franklin County Sheriff Chris Donelan.  Lt. Waldron was chosen to be the newest K9 addition to the Franklin County Sheriff's Department.  Lt. Waldron also works as a part-time officer for the Town of Bernardston Police Department.

Congratulations Scott!


Click here to return to the Bernardston Police Department homepage.