Capt. Joe Smith of the Hyde County Sheriff’s Department urges all to obey the village-wide speed limit of 20 mph. Photo: C. Leinbach

By Connie Leinbach

As more people are on Ocracoke Island, the Hyde County sheriff deputies are busier.

Capt. Joe Smith reported on a vehicle crash in the early morning hours of June 12 in which a driver crashed into the fence between the Jolly Roger and Captain’s Landing on Irvin Garrish Highway.

The front end of a truck had damaged the post and the back end was in the road, Smith said, adding that he had the truck towed to Hatteras.

Although the driver had left the scene, he nevertheless was charged.

“He got quite a few tickets,” Smith said.

In the period from May 16 to June 15, Smith said the deputies had two water rescues. One was a kayak that had flipped over in Silver Lake and the other one was a sailboat that had capsized near Big Foot Slough. There were no injuries.

In both events, the Coast Guard also responded because for anything on the water, the Coast Guard shows up, he said.

That’s because the sheriff’s department on Ocracoke does not have a boat.

“We keep applying for a boat, but we never get one,” he said, explaining that each year the Hyde County Sheriff applies to the federal government for funds but has not been successful.

He said they need a 25-foot motorboat with a center console because that would be big enough to get to the mainland.

Among the five assists to the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department, one almost turned into a fully involved house fire.

It was on a recent weekend morning that a couple walking noticed a planter on a rental house deck in flames. Someone had thrown a cigarette butt into the planter before they left the house and it smoldered into a blaze, Smith said.

“The couple grabbed a hose and put it out or that house would’ve been gone,” he said. “That was a very close call.”

There was one airport accident in which a plane that was landing got a flat tire. They were able to land and there were no injuries.

In addition to 30 traffic stops in that period, Smith also reported the following complaints or infractions:

Three trespassing; three animal complaints regarding dogs; four damage to property; one drunk disturbance; two noise disturbances; one larceny; and one fireworks complaint. Ocracoke has a no-tolerance-for-fireworks policy since some fireworks set off several years ago by visitors came close to creating a major out-of-control fire.

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