June 25, 2012- Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard reports that two hikers who were unable to find their way off of a mountain bike trail in Sprague Brook Park late Monday evening were guided to safety with the help of two alert citizens.
The two hikers, both residents of the Town of Colden, had gone to the park early in the evening to walk the bike trail. They apparently miscalculated how long the hike would take, and at 9:30 PM they called the park office to report that they were unable to find their way out due to the darkness. The hikers were able to tell the park employee that they were at milepost #3 on the trail, which is in a heavily wooded area in the northeast corner of the park. The park employee instructed the hikers to stay at that location, and attempted to reach them on an off-road vehicle. When he was unable to do so, he contacted the Sheriff’s Office for assistance at 10:30 PM.
Deputies Jason Bouton and Benjamin Pisa responded to the park, and requested assistance from the East Concord and Chaffee-Sardinia Volunteer Fire Companies. The firefighters, under the direction of East Concord Fire Chief Matthew Willibey, began a search of the area, entering the park off of Crane Road. In the meanwhile, Craig Tucker, a neighbor who resides on Pratham Road, had heard someone yelling for help on the bike trail, and he drove his ATV through the field behind his house to the east side of the park. From that point he was able to make voice contact across a deep ravine to the hikers, and he stayed on the east side of the raving, while his son, Sean Tucker, was able to walk to the hikers, and guide them to a bridge which crosses the ravine, and then out to Pratham Road.
The Erie County Sheriff’s Office helicopter had also responded, piloted by Captain Kevin Caffery, and was used to monitor the situation from the air, making sure that everyone made it out of the park safely. The two hikers were evaluated for any medical issues by members of the East Concord Fire Company, and were then taken back to their car which was parked in a lot at the park.
The Sheriff’s Office and the members of the two fire companies are grateful to both Craig Tucker and his son Sean for the assistance that they lent, which certainly hastened the rescue of the two hikers.