Man dies in Nemo’s wake

by Town Reminder

Man dies in Nemo’s wake
Blizzard pummels town with intense storm

By Kristin Will
Staff Writer

SOUTH HADLEY – An elderly man is dead following a tragic plowing accident Saturday as residents worked to dig themselves out of Nemo’s aftermath.
A driver of a private plowing truck struck a Broad Street resident in his driveway at 6:12 p.m. while clearing the driveway.
No foul play is suspected, said First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne in a statement to the Town Reminder.
The accident is under investigation by the South Hadley Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section.
The February blizzard dropped a total of 25 inches of snow in South Hadley Feb. 8 and 9, according to the Department of Public Works [DPW], forcing Governor Deval Patrick to declare a State of Emergency Friday and implement a 36-hour driving ban.
The ban, which came with fines and possible jail-time, sparked numerous phone calls to the town’s police department, said South Hadley Police Lt. Steven Parentela.
Officers were instructed to use their own discretion in regard to the ban, but Parentela said the department was not out to ticket residents, using the scope of the ban broadly.
“People knew ‘let’s get home,’” he said. “They knew it was going to be big a big storm and stayed off the roads.”
Illegally parked vehicles across town were ticketed, as they impeded snow removal.
“Without a doubt, the ban probably saved lives,” said Parentela. “The roads were really dangerous and impassable at times. The highway department did a great job”
Fifteen DPW vehicles paired with fifteen private plowers contracted by the town rounded out the full crew attacking the roads around-the-clock.
“We plowed overnight into Saturday morning,” said DPW Superintendent Jim Reidy. “It was a rough storm once we got into the wee hours of the night and it came down hard.”
The plowing operation ended around noon on Saturday.
In the following days, crews returned to certain neighborhoods to widen roads and move snowbanks.
Reidy said some veteran plowers said “they have never seen it snow so hard or so fast.”
Approved during last Tuesday’s Selectboard meeting was DPW authorization to deficit-spend regarding the Snow and Ice Personal Services and Snow and Ice Expense budgets.
At the meeting, Reidy predicted the department would exceed the total budgeted amount of $100,006.