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Avon, New York – Lancaster Man Dies After Driving into the Genesee River

By admin • Mar 6th, 2009 • Category: Lead Story

DISCLAIMER - Any Charges Reported in these Press Releases are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

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The New York State Police initiated a vehicle pursuit at approximately 4:34pm today on St-Rte 20 in the Town of York, Livingston County.  At 4:33pm the trooper attempted to stop the suspect speeding eastbound traveling 71mph in a 55 zone. The suspect later identified as Nathan R. Ha, 18, from Lancaster, NY continued to refuse to stop for the trooper. 

The pursuit continued north on River Road and turned east on Rte-5 reaching top speed of 90mph.  A State Police Sgt terminated the pursuit at 4:37pm as it approached the Village of Avon.  The trooper, along with Chief Carney of The Avon PD turned off the lights and sirens of their vehicles but continued to monitor the suspect’s vehicle from a distance. Chief Carney saw the vehicle, which was now south on Rt 39; turn right onto Linden St. in the Village.

Chief Carney drove down Spring St. to the intersection with Linden St. where he observed the suspects vehicle stopped behind another vehicle at the stop sign. Chief Carney attempted to block the suspect’s vehicle in the intersection but the suspect turned left into the Avon Driving Park where, once in the park the suspect entered an adjacent farm field.

Chief Carney watched as the vehicle drove around the perimeter of the field and then went back to the park entrance to set-up road spikes, due to there being no other way out of the area. Avon Police Sgt. Henry began following the vehicle in the field after the car had driven around erratically several times. At 4:42pm Sgt. Henry observed the vehicle drive towards the banks of the river and at which time Sgt. Henry attempted to block the motorist from driving into the river.  At 4:43pm the suspect drove around the police vehicle and drove it into the river.

Sgt. Henry radioed that the vehicle was in the water, floating northbound towards the Rt 5 & 20 bridge. Witnesses and police personnel observed the suspect failing to make any attempt to exit his vehicle although they could clearly see him moving freely with-in the vehicle.  Rescue personnel from multiple agencies in Livingston and Monroe Counties were dispatched and responded to the scene. For about 15 minutes attempts were made by fire personnel to make a cold water rescue. Divers from the NYSP, NYS DEC and the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office made the rescue and the suspect was transported to Strong Hospital by Avon EMS. They arrived at the hospital at 6:53 PM and he was pronounced at 7:03PM 
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