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Crews remove vehicle from Central Park lake

Crews remove vehicle from Central Park lake

Bystanders: Woman fled after van began rolling toward water

SCHENECTADY — Emergency crews reeled in a minivan from Iroquois Lake in Central Park after the unoccupied vehicle rolled into the water Wednesday afternoon.

Numerous emergency crews worked for a couple of hours to secure and remove the van, which rolled down a hill and struck a utility pole before coming to rest in the lake, about 20 feet from shore.

Nobody was hurt, authorities said. The incident happened about 4:15 p.m. at the northwest corner of the lake, which is adjacent to Bradley Boulevard.

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Ed LeBron, a Schenectady resident, said he was fishing when he saw the van sitting atop a hill overlooking the lake, partly on the grass and partly on a walking path. He went to ask the driver if everything was OK, and she responded that she was fine, he said.

He returned to fishing about 100 feet away, he said.

“I’m down here fishing by the bench, and I heard something,” he said. “I turn around, she hit the pole and went into the water.”

Bystanders said the woman abandoned the vehicle as it began rolling down the hill toward the lake.

It sat in the water, submerged up to the roof and with its back-windshield wiper still operating. The utility pole it crashed through came to rest across the roof and front windshield. A children's carseat floated nearby.

"Thank God there were no kids in the car," LeBron said.

It took about a half-hour for a tow truck to arrive, secure the vehicle with a cable and pull it back to land.

As the ordeal played out, a light rain fell and about a dozen people at a time gathered to take pictures and inquire about what happened. Two young kids excitedly looked on, eager to see the van pulled from the lake, though their patience grew thin by about 6 p.m.

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