Block Island increasing police patrols following deadly crashes

South County

NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — Block Island’s town council is amping up patrols following two deadly accidents in recent weeks.

The New Shoreham Town Council said in a virtual emergency meeting Monday night the Rhode Island State Police will send troopers to the island beginning this weekend and through the rest of the summer.

Superintendent of the State Police Col. James Manni said he will be on the island with other troopers to increase enforcement of motor vehicle violations.

The town council said New Shoreham’s police department requested the additional help.

Due to the pandemic, the town council says Block Island’s rescue personnel has been reduced to one third, making responding to all crashes challenging. The additional patrols will help with this problem.

“[Manni] assures me that he will make every effort to curtail any mischievous behavior,” First Warden with the New Shoreham Town Council Ken Lacoste said.

The emergency meeting was held Sunday night and continued into Monday following the moped crash that killed a 22-year-old over the weekend. Just one week prior, a 16-year-old from Connecticut teen died in a single car crash.

“I personally told Manni where the hot spots are like the Red Bird Liquor Store parking lot when they rent their mopeds, go get booze, then take off,” Second Warden of the New Shoreham Town Council Andre Boudreau said. “It’s going to be zero tolerance this weekend and through the days through the rest of the summer.”

The town council is weighing its options to enhance safety measures. This comes as a petition with nearly 3,000 signatures calls for tougher licensing standards for mopeds.

Currently, DMV regulations say you must be 16 years old with a valid license to rent a moped.

Legal action against the moped operators and a temporary ban of mopeds are being discussed but nothing has yet been decided. The town council says they are in talks with the operators to find a resolution.

No vote was taken Monday night. Any potential action to change moped rentals on the island was pushed to Wednesday’s town council meeting.

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