Police search for driver of stolen SUV found in pond near Hempstead Lake State Park

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Police are searching for the driver behind the wheel of a stolen SUV that plunged into a pond near Hempstead Lake State Park Tuesday morning.

State police say the 2019 Chevy Suburban was headed westbound on the Southern State Parkway off Peninsula Boulevard when it went off the road, down a foot path and into the pond just before 6 a.m.

In an initial search of the vehicle, rescuers did not find anyone inside. Lakewood firefighter Fred Senti says he immediately dove into the water as soon as he arrived.

Officials then turned to divers and a large tow truck to get the car out of the water, which they say is not safe for swimming. Emergency responders say they had to set up a pully system attached to a tree to get the car out.

Officials say it took four hours to get the car out of the water. State Park police say the car was reported stolen from a home in Rosedale, Queens. Fire officials say if it wasn't for the car's OnStar safety system, they wouldn't have known that anything was in the pond.

They say the system alerted authorities the instant the car was filling up with water.

State Park police say they're searching for the driver and anyone who saw the car go into the water. They say the car was removed from the water with minimal impact to the environment.

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