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A man found a creative way to escape authorities on Saturday.

He jumped in the lake.

But Hamburg police outsmarted him when they waded him out.

The incident began as a one-vehicle crash shortly before 3 p.m. Saturday on Old Lake Shore Road, near Crescent Terrace along the shores of Lake Erie.

The vehicle went off the road and over a guard rail into a small ravine, said Hamburg Capt. Peter Dienes.

Upon arrival of officers, the driver of the vehicle fled down a path to the beach and started walking north, Dienes said.

“As our guy was making his way toward him, he fled,” Dienes said. “We believe the accident was related to alcohol, so that’s why he left.”

Police tried to catch up with him on the beach.

“Once they got fairly close, he decided to go into the water,” Dienes said.

Officers waded into the lake to retrieve the man, but he continued to swim farther out.

“We didn’t want to cause a situation where he could drown, so we backed off,” Dienes said.

Police tried to wait him out, but eventually the Erie County sheriff’s helicopter was called in to help.

“Once the helicopter got there, he became distracted with the helicopter and that’s when we were able to grab him and take him into custody,” Dienes said.

Police were in water about chest high when they finally grabbed the man. The entire incident happened over a period of about 45 minutes, the captain said.

The man is being charged with leaving the scene of an accident, and more charges are pending, Dienes said.

He was taken to Erie County Medical Center for evaluation, as was a passenger in the vehicle who was injured, Dienes said.

Their conditions were unclear Saturday night.

Police were still sorting out the charges and identities and did not release the name of either the driver or the passenger.

email: jrey@buffnews.com