Should NJ ice victims pay for their rescues? (Opinion)
Here’s an incredible story that happened this past weekend in Netcong Borough. For those who don’t know, it’s in western Morris County right by Lake Musconetcong, which is where our story takes place.
Police were called out Sunday around 5 p.m. in a report that someone in a motorcycle fell through the ice on that lake. No pun intended, but let that sink in. Someone apparently decided bringing a motorcycle onto a frozen lake is a good idea.
No, I don’t live in a vacuum. Yes, I realize people drive much heavier trucks on frozen lakes all over New Jersey. I know that. It’s just … I don’t "get" that.
Perhaps it’s that horror movie I saw as a kid where someone falls through clear ice and the water takes them away. They end up staring up through the clear ice at the people desperately trying to break the new section to save them as the air bubbles of the victim’s mouth. What the heck was the name of that movie?
Anyway, my healthy aversion to drowning in paralyzing cold water has always made me wonder why anyone ventures onto frozen lakes. Remember the guy who police say drove his pickup truck onto the frozen Toms River with his dog inside and began doing donuts on the ice? The truck fell through. The guy lived. The dog drowned. So, yeah. I don’t get it.
Now the Lake Musconetcong story didn’t end up just being about rescuing the man on the motorcycle. As police and firefighters risked their own butts trying to save this guy, another man walking on the ice fell through. Then a woman fell through.
Three victims minutes apart from each other.
Ropes were used to save two of them and ice rescue suits and a rescue sled had to be used to save the initial victim on the motorcycle who was 300 yards offshore, according to authorities.
All ended well. Yet that’s a lot of manpower. That’s a lot of expense. I talked with a friend about this story and they said the victims should have to reimburse the taxpayers for the cost of their rescue.
It’s an easy opinion to jump to. It does seem patently stupid to put yourself in harm’s way on a frozen lake that’s not frozen enough. Thing is, we all do stupid things.
If we start making these rescue victims pay for services then what about when you drove 17 mph over the limit and crashed? Should you be billed for the jaws of life it took to extract you from your vehicle? Or what about the guy who crashes driving to pick up Chinese food he didn’t really have to get in the middle of a snowstorm? Or even the woman who smoked and had a heart attack in the middle of Kohl’s who needed a rescue squad?
So no, they shouldn’t be charged. Even though it sure is tempting.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
You can now listen to Deminski & Doyle — On Demand! Hear New Jersey’s favorite afternoon radio show any day of the week. Download the Deminski & Doyle show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now: