Man who died after driving vehicle into Otsego Lake identified

Cooperstown Police are investigating a death that happened at the Lake Front Boat Ramp, in Cooperstown, where a man drove his car into Otsego Lake.

Posted: Apr. 12, 2019 5:56 AM
Updated: Apr. 12, 2019 6:52 PM

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- The Cooperstown Police Department is investigating a death that happened Thursday night at the Lake Front Boat Ramp, in Cooperstown, where a man drove his car into Otsego Lake.

Police say 75-year-old John Smirk, of Cooperstown, drove his Subaru vehicle down Fair Street, went on the boat ramp, and into Otsego Lake.

Witnesses say they saw they watched crews take the car out of the water. "We saw all of the people down here at the end of the drive at the boat dock," said Peter Lamana who is visiting from out town. "We saw the crane out the lights over the water, a fire truck and an ambulance."

A Cooperstown patrolman and Otsego County sheriff's deputy suffered minor injuries while getting Smirk out of the vehicle.

Officer Vincent Cavalieri with the Cooperstown Police Department and the sheriff's deputy jumped in the lake and broke the windows in an attempt to save Smirk. "Deputy Grimes from the Otsego County Sheriff's Office arrived, he jumped on top of the car as well and we proceeded to break out the side windows," said Officer Cavalieri.

After he was pulled from the vehicle, they brought him to shore where the Cooperstown Fire Department Emergency Squad tried treating the man. 

The cause of death is still under investigation. 

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