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Two cars land in Lake Champlain in one day; one car was stolen

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Posted on April 15, 2019 |
By Addison Independent



car in lake in Addison-7 online.jpg
THIS 2018 CHEVROLET Sonic ended up nose-first in Lake Champlain early on Wednesday afternoon after the driver, according to Vermont State Police, probably suffered a medical event. The driver, a Moriah, N.Y., resident, escaped the car himself, according to VSP. Photo provided by Vermont State Police

ADDISON — Two cars took a dunk into Lake Champlain within a half mile of each other near the Lake Champlain Bridge in Addison this past Wednesday.

 Vermont State Police first were called to the McCuen Slang Fishing Access off Route 125 a little more than a mile south of the bridge at about 10 minutes until 7 a.m. on April 10. Someone had spotted a vehicle in the lake.

Troopers met with members of the Addison Volunteer Fire Department, who told them that the vehicle was unoccupied.

The car was identified as a gold Nissan with the license plate HKE558. A query to the Department of Motor Vehicles led police to discover that the vehicle had been reported stolen from a home in Brandon.

Authorities removed the Nissan from the lake with the assistance of the Vermont State Police scuba team, game wardens from the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, and EJM Wrecker Service.

Police investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on this case is strongly encouraged to contact the Vermont State Police, New Haven barracks, at 802-388-3919.

Only a few hours later state police were back on Route 125 just south of the bridge, where a car had veered off Route 125 and plunged into Lake Champlain.

Vermont State Police said they believe Richard Finnessey, 35, of Moriah, N.Y., suffered an “undetermined medical event” that led to this accident, which occurred just after 1 p.m. about 0.6 mile south of Route 125’s intersection with Route 17.

State Police Sgt. Stephen McNamara said Finnessey was able to free himself from the car, a 2018 Chevrolet Sonic, and get ashore.

According to a VSP press release, Finnessey suffered a “possible head injury” and was taken to Porter Hospital. Town Line First Response and Middlebury Heavy Rescue helped out at the scene.

Police said neither speed nor impairment appeared to be contributing factors in this incident.

Green Mountain Towing removed the car from the lake; the vehicle was considered a total loss. New York State Police and the Addison County Sheriff's Department also assisted VSP.

State police are still investigating the incident, and anyone with information is asked to call them at 802-388-4919.

Editor's note: This story originally ran under the headline "Man swims to shore after driving into lake" and included information only on one car in the lake.

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