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Officers, firefighters rescue man from vehicle submerged in Hamburg pond

Hamburg police and firefighters pulled an unresponsive 62-year-old man from his vehicle after it went off the road and deep into a pond late Monday.

The victim was taken by Mercy Flight to the Erie County Medical Center, where he remained in critical condition Tuesday morning in the intensive care unit.

A police report and Hamburg police officials described a harrowing scene starting around 8:15 p.m. when witnesses say a car driven by Alan Vanderhoof, traveling west on South Creek Road, went off the road and into a man made pond in the front yard of 3302 S. Creek.

Police don't know why Vanderhoof, who lives near the site, lost control of his vehicle, although he may have had a medical event, Hamburg Police Capt. Kevin Trask said.

Hamburg Police Officer William Stowell was the first on the scene. He saw residents on the road flagging him down and spotted the roofline and the lights of a vehicle in the water, about 15 feet from the north end of the pond in about 4 feet of water.

Stowell said he took off his heavier duty gear and waded into the pond, soon joined by Officer Joshua Taylor and Hamburg Village Firefighters Drew Marts and Joe Kasperek.

The men managed to open the driver's side door and get the driver, who did not respond to their questions, out of the vehicle and take him to other volunteer firefighters and emergency responders on dry ground. Kasprzak returned to the vehicle to check for other occupants, but didn't find any.

The driver's wallet helped police identify him as Vanderhoof. Officers contacted Vanderhoof's family and Stowell said he cleared the scene to change into a dry uniform.

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