‘Med­i­cal in­ci­dent’ cited in death of sher­iff’s diver

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - Free­man staff

The Ul­ster County Sher­iff’s Of­fice dive team mem­ber who died last week af­ter fall­ing un­con­scious dur­ing a train­ing ex­er­cise suf­fered an un­spec­i­fied “med­i­cal in­ci­dent” that led to his death, ac­cord­ing to state po­lice.

Sgt. Kerry Win­ters’ death has been ruled ac­ci­den­tal, Trooper Steven Nevel said Fri­day. Nevel said he did not know the spe­cific cause.

A fi­nal au­topsy re­port will fol­low com­ple­tion of tox­i­col­ogy re­sults, but the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is “pretty much all wrapped up,” Nevel said.

Win­ters, 51, a 30-year vet­eran of the Sher-

iff’s Of­fice, died Sept. 22 af­ter be­ing found un­con­scious dur­ing an in-water dive train­ing ex­er­cise in the Ashokan Reser­voir in town of Olive. The sergeant, an ex­pe­ri­enced and ac­com­plished diver who had been on the sher­iff’s dive team for 15 years, was wear­ing

full dive gear and a backup air sup­ply when the ac­ci­dent oc­curred, Sher­iff Paul VanBlar­cum said last week.

The sher­iff said Win­ters was miss­ing for less than five min­utes when the search-and-res­cue effort be­gan.

Win­ters’ death was to be in­ves­ti­gated by state po­lice and the fed­eral Oc­cu­pa­tional Safety and Health Ad­min­is­tra­tion, VanBlar­cum said.

Win­ters, whose full-time

as­sign­ment was be­ing a cor­rec­tions of­fi­cer at the Ul­ster County Jail, was laid to rest Thurs­day af­ter his fu­neral at a Glasco church. More than 1,000 law-en­force­ment per­son­nel and other emer­gency re­spon­ders lined U.S. Route 9W in Sauger­ties to pay their last re­spects as the fu­neral process made its way from the church to the ceme­tery.

Win­ters is sur­vived by his wife, Michele, and two sons.


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