by Terry Duffy
Niagara County Sheriff's Deputy Allen Gerhardt continues his recovery from surgery at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo following a serious automobile accident early Monday morning on Lake Road in the Town of Porter.
According to the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, Deputy Gerhardt had his legs severed in the accident after losing control of his patrol car and striking a guardrail. Gerhardt and fellow NCSO Deputy Jonathan Andres were talking in their vehicles when they received a call for help from another officer early Monday.
At 1:21 a.m., driver Todd Michael Hauser, 35, of Ransomville, was reported to have struck an unoccupied, parked vehicle and left the scene in the area of Youngstown-Lockport Road and Ransomville Road in Ransomville. After his vehicle came to a stop, Hauser fled on foot.
Both deputies and Lewiston Police responders rushed to the scene to join in the search.
Andres turned from Lake Road to Ransomville Road to reach the scene but Gerhardt never made it. For reasons unknown, he lost control of his vehicle and struck a guardrail.
Andres and NCSO Deputy Shawn Grapes located Gerhardt, where they quickly acted after discovering Gerhardt's legs were severed. The officers reportedly used their belts as tourniquets to stop the bleeding, and are being credited for saving the deputy's life.
Gerhardt was rushed to ECMC where he remains in serious, but stable condition following surgery. Upon arrival he was placed into a medically induced coma to address bleeding. He underwent surgery Tuesday. According to the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, the surgery involved taking greater portions of the deputy's right leg than was anticipated. Gerhardt was out of surgery at midnight and is recovering in ICU. "The doctors are pleased and said the surgery went well," commented Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour.
Hauser was arraigned Tuesday in Porter Town Court and pleaded not guilty to alleged of driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and making an unsafe lane change. He is due back in court Aug. 2.
Gerhardt, of Newfane, is a pilot with the New York Army National Guard and an Iraq War combat veteran. He joined the sheriff's office in 2008. The deputy is married and the father of three children.