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Bogus crash call prompts investigation

QUEENSBURY - A report of a serious rollover crash over the Warren County emergency two-way radio system about two weeks ago sent firefighters and emergency medical people scrambling, but the call was bogus, county officials said Thursday.

Emergency Coordinator Brian LaFlure said a series of three calls reported the crash and they originated from a particular mobile radio installed in a car or truck.

The crash supposedly involved a vehicle that had rolled over into a ditch, and that children were trapped inside and needed to be extricated.

County Public Safety Committee Chairman William VanNess blasted the bogus calls that sent emergency responders of various agencies around the county to spread out over the region and search for guardrails that were smashed or any other indication of a crash.

"It's just horrible - dispatchers were frantic after hearing that radio call that kids were trapped inside the vehicle, and volunteer emergency agencies were all over the place up north looking for the accident," he said. "This type of action puts our emergency responders in jeopardy, if they are racing all over trying to find the crash - these are dedicated people, and it raises their adrenaline level for nothing."

The incident is prompting the county to upgrade and activate a secure radio system that will identify the identification of the caller, and lock out radios that aren't authorized. At this point, the county has no way of determining who the radio calling in belongs to, nor the location of the call.

LaFlure reported the incident at the county's Public Safety Committee meeting Thursday.

LaFlure said that county officials have a recording of the voice reporting the crash, and they are analyzing it to determine who made the call. Already, LaFlure's staff has sent out a recording of the bogus calls to fire chiefs and emergency squad captains so they can help determine the identity of the culprit.

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