PORTER, N.Y. (WIVB) - Niagara County Sheriff's Deputy Allen Gerhardt, who's a father of three and a decorated war veteran, was severely injured while he coming to the aid of a fellow deputy. The tragic events unfolded around 1 a.m. Monday morning.
Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour said, "We hope for the best, but they are very serious injuries."
Late Monday morning, Sheriff Voutour stood outside ECMC, where he and many others on the force have been holding a round-the-clock vigil for one of their own. Deputy Allen Gerhardt was in the process of coming to the aid of a fellow deputy who was on a foot chase when, for reasons unknown, he crashed into a guard rail. Deputy Gerhardt was airlifted from the scene to the hospital with leg injuries.
"They stabilized him now. He'll be sedated for a few days," said Sheriff Voutour.
The 36-year-old deputy, a married father of three, has only been with the sheriff's Office for a little over two years, but earned the respect of the department well before that. As a helicopter pilot with the Army National Guard, he flew hundreds of combat missions in Iraq in 2006.
Sheriff Voutour said, "It's kind of sad. He came back after 300 or 400 missions there without a scratch and he's back here in a safe community; he always wanted to work in his hometown. He did all that dangerous work in Iraq and comes back here and gets hurt like this."
Deputies were chasing 36-year-old Todd Michael Hauser. Hauser allegedly crashed into a car then fled on foot. He was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, and moving from lane unsafely. Hauser is locked up at the Niagara County Holding Center on $5,000 bail. Meanwhile, the vigil continues at ECMC.
"He's a decorated war veteran. All of us are proud of," said Sheriff Voutour.
The investigation continues. It's unclear if speed played a factor in the deputy's crash.
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