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Driver, 89, found in Watertown

SOMERSET -- An 89-year-old man who drove from his home on an errand during a snowstorm Friday was located about 1:50 a.m. Saturday in Watertown, more than 200 miles away.

John P. Wronski of Johnson Creek Road, who has been diagnosed with early stage dementia according to police reports, was trying to go to the Village of Barker about a mile away. He left home about 3 p.m. Friday.

Sgt. Joseph Donoghue of the Watertown Police Department said Officer Shaun Ashley saw a 2002 Saturn fail to keep right at State Street and Eastern Boulevard in Watertown at 1:50 a.m. Saturday. He ran the license plate through his computer and discovered the missing person report.

Wronski was stopped more than 200 miles, and nearly four hours, away from his Johnson Creek Road home.

"He was unaware he was in Jefferson County," Donoghue said. "He thought he was still in Niagara County."

Donoghue said Wronski's wife, Bertha, was contacted and gave her consent for Jean Davis of Theresa, a town near Watertown, to take Wronski to her home.

Davis, a funeral director in Theresa, said she grew up in Barker and had been friends with Sue Manuel, Wronski's daughter, since she was 8 years old.

Manuel, who lives in Orchard Park, called Davis as Bertha Wronski, John's wife, was on the phone with the police.

"We were on the road in five minutes," Davis said.

She commented, "I'm still on a high from this. The odds are astronomical that he would end up 20 minutes from our house when he lives four hours away. It's really freaky."

Ms. Manuel and Mrs. Wronski drove to Watertown and collected Mr. Wronski, who was unhurt, and left to drive back to Somerset about 2 p.m. Saturday. They could not be reached Saturday night.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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