NY Fire Marshall Cleared After
4 Cars Hit, 10 Injured Downtown
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.COM
RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Mayor Robin Moshier still remembers the sound of the accident.
“My office was in the back, but you could hear the car going down the road, hitting things,” she remembered Tuesday after no charges were brought against the driver. “I had no idea what it was. But by the end of the night, we all knew.”
That was Dec. 10, 2019, when 10 people were injured when a state fire marshal, identified as Kevin Ritton, the secretary of the Otsego County Emergency Services, experienced a “medical event” and crashed his truck into four cars before coming to rest on the steps of the post office.
The investigation was closed Monday afternoon, when District Attorney John Muehl declined to file charges.
“There was no evidence or criminality or intent,” said Muehl. “Therefore, the investigation is closed.”
Muehl was unable to detail the medical event, citing HPPA laws.
Around 4 p.m. that day, Ritton’s truck was headed east on Main Street when it suddenly accelerated, smashing into one vehicle in the vicinity of Richfield Springs Central School, then a second vehicle at Lake and Main, next to the village’s landmark clock.
It continued, still at a high speed, crushing a white car in front of the post office, pushing it into a blue car behind it. It then veered to the right and ran into the building’s concrete front steps, coming to a stop, according to Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr., who was at the scene leading the investigation, assisted by his Undersheriff Cameron Allison.
Devlin said there were no skid marks at the scene, indicating that Ritton did not attempt to stop the vehicle.
One of the victims, a woman, was right outside of James Jordan Architects, where Moshier works. “We brought her inside and out of the cold,” said the mayor.
911 dispatched 8-10 ambulances to the scene; five of the injured were transported to Bassett Hospital, three were sent to Utica hospitals and one was flown to Albany Med on a LifeNet helicopter.
Ritton was tested at the scene for drugs and alcohol and none were found. Icy roads were also ruled out as a contributing factor, as was mechanical failure.
“He is being fully cooperative and has agreed to talk to us,” Devlin said the night of the crash. “At this point, we don’t believe this was intentional.”
The damage to the post office has yet to be fixed, said Moshier. “That would be a federal job,” she said. “As far as I know, no repairs have even been planned.”
“It could have been so much worse,” she continued. “20 minutes earlier and the kids would have been getting out of school. 20 minutes later and people would have been getting off work.”
But the Village is resilient, she said. “People are past that,” she said. “Business goes on.”