Victim Identified As John Smirk, Owned Local B&B

Victim Identified

As John Smirk,

Owned Local B&B

Officer Cavalieri, Deputy Grimes

Injured Trying To Rescue Driver

Traces of blood from officers who broke the window on John Smirk’s vehicle, try to saves the man, were still visible on the dock by the Fair Street boat launch this morning. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Deputy Grimes
Officer Cavalieri

COOPERSTOWN – The former owner of the Cooperstown B&B, John Smirk, 75, was identified as the man who drowned in Otsego Lake last night after his vehicle ran off the dock at the bottom of Fair Street at 8:30 p.m., Cooperstown police said.

Two officers injured trying to rescue the driver were identified as Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Grimes and Village Police Office Vincent Cavalieri.  They were treated at Bassett Hospital and released, as was an unidentified medic.

Smirk and his wife Linda, who passed away in 2016, operated the Cooperstown B&B at 80 Chestnut St. for decades.

A passerby called Otsego County 911 at 8:31 p.m. after she witnessed a car go off the dock next to the Lakefront Hotel’s lighthouse and into the water. Cooperstown Police arrived at 8:34 p.m. and Otsego County deputies arrived at 8:37 p.m. and found the car, a 2015 Subaru, in the water.

According to Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr., Smirk was “unresponsive” inside the car.

Cavalieri and Grimes were able to remove Smirk from his car and get him to shore, where members from the Cooperstown Fire Department Emergency Squad performed CPR, but to no avail, and he was pronounced dead.

Deputy Grimes was treated at Bassett Hospital for lacerations to his hand from broken glass while trying to retrieve Smirk, as well as mild hypothermia from being in the water. Patrolman Cavalieri and a paramedic from AMT were also transported to Bassett and treated for minor injuries sustained at the scene.

The cause of the accident and Smirk’s death remains under investigation.

One thought on “Victim Identified As John Smirk, Owned Local B&B

  1. normano1952

    This is so tragic and very sad. Deepest Condolences to his family. May he Rest Peacefully. Thank you to the Police Officer’s for their acts of heroism. God Bless.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.