Phelps man remains in guarded condition at Strong Hospital after crashing car into Flint Creek

Son says 87-year-old sat in waist-deep water for 11 hours before being located

– Update: Monday, 6 p.m.

The man who’s vehicle wound up in Flint Creek along State Route 96 in Phelps after being missing for nearly 12 hours was listed in guarded condition on Monday.

Harold Smith, 87, had been reported missing around 4 p.m. on Saturday. He had last been seen around the Blue Ribbon restaurant.

However, the crash that was discovered around 4 a.m. had actually happened hours earlier. His son, David Smith, posted to Facebook – updating family and friends on the ordeal.

That update included the fact that the 87-year-old Smith spent up to 11 hours in water up to his waist after his vehicle crashed into the creek.

“The magnitude of support and help from my friends, family and strangers was beyond comprehension,” David added. “My family thanks each and everyone of you from the bottom of our hearts. Please share this post so that everyone is updated.”

Harold was airlifted from the scene of the crash, after hours of searching by friends, family, and dozens of law enforcement professionals from around Ontario County.

First responders searched in Geneva, Phelps, Newark, and even in Wayne and Seneca counties for the missing man. “We scoured the area,” Lt. David Cirencione recounted to The Messenger Post.

He noted that Harold’s vehicle was traveling east on State Route 96, crossed over the westbound lane, and continued – striking a mailbox, and traveling into the icy water of Flint Creek.

Harold was airlifted to Strong Memorial Hospital where he remains.

Missing Phelps man found after vehicle crashes into creek along Rt. 96

– Original Report: Sunday 9 a.m.

Sheriff Henderson says that the man reported missing on Saturday near the Blue Ribbon was involved in an overnight car crash, and was subsequently airlifted to Strong Memorial Hospital.

Henderson says the 87-year-old, identified as Harold Smith, a Phelps resident was operating his vehicle on the north shoulder of State Route 96 when he struck a mailbox, continued across the driveway of 1060 State Route 96, and dropped about eight feet into a shallow creek.

The Sheriff’s Office reports that members of the Phelps Fire Department responded to the scene and quickly extricated Smith.



Smith was transported to a location where a Mercy Flight helicopter was waiting. The 87-year-old was inside the vehicle, which had been partially submerged in the creek, which prompted the move to airlift.

Henderson says Smith was missing for about 12 hours before the crash around 3:46 a.m.




To have the latest delivered to your smartphone or tablet – download the FingerLakes1.com App for Android and iOS. Follow the links below to download the app now! Android (All Android Devices) iOS (iPhone, iPad)