DA: Man who jumped into lake after driving stolen truck sentenced

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A vehicle chase that eventually led to a man jumping into Lake Erie has resulted in a three-to-six-year prison sentence.

In June 2023, Erie County Sheriff’s Office investigators tracked a stolen Ford Raptor to Fuhrmann Boulevard in Buffalo. According to the District Attorney’s office, the 2023 truck, valued at an estimated $85,500, had been taken from a dealership on Transit Road in Elma.

“A door window at the dealership had been broken overnight, which led to the key and the vehicle being stolen from the property,” prosecutors said.

The DA’s office said a deputy approached the vehicle, but the driver, identified as Frederick Hartman, 51, refused commands and drove south on Fuhrmann.

According to officials, Hartman abandoned the vehicle in a restaurant parking lot near the waterfront after the tire got damaged. He then proceeded to enter the restaurant before jumping into Lake Erie from the patio, they said.

The DA’s office said he was taken into custody after swimming to a nearby floating dock.

This past February, Hartman pleaded guilty to criminal possession of stolen property and criminal mischief. He was sentenced as a second felony offender Thursday morning.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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