"Pokémon Go" Nearly Claims First Victim

Man, 28, drove into tree while playing game

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"Pokemon Go" Crash

7/14 UPDATE: Man who crashed car is an ex-Marine who was trying to catch “Lapras,” a blue sea creature.

JULY 13--A motorist who last night slammed his car into a tree in upstate New York told police that he was distracted playing “Pokémon Go” at the time of the crash, according to investigators.

The 28-year-old driver was not seriously injured in the accident, which left his car crumpled. The vehicle, seen in the adjacent police photo, careened off a road in the city of Auburn and struck a tree around 10:45 PM Tuesday. 

The driver, Steven Cary, suffered a broken ankle and cuts to his legs. Cary, who was driving his younger brother’s car, was transported to a local hospital for treatment. He is expected to be cited in connection with the one-car accident.

In a Facebook post, Cary’s mother wrote that her son “will not answer a phone call or text while driving,” but when he saw a “‘special’ Pokémon on his app…He looked down for a minute and woke up in an ambulance.” Noting that she was thankful nobody was in the crumpled passenger seat, Tricia Finn Cary added that her son (seen at left) did not “catch” the Pokémon he spotted, “or if he did he doesn't know because the phone is buried in the twisted plastic and metal that used to be his brother's car!”

The motorist, cops say, “admitted to actively playing the ‘Pokémon Go’ game while driving causing him to become distracted and run off the roadway into a tree.” A police safety alert notes how “easily accidents can occur when someone is engaged in the game and not paying attention.”

While seeking to catch Pokémon while playing the popular augmented reality game, individuals should not be “operating a motor vehicle or bicycle,” cops advise. Additionally, “Do not trespass on private property when trying to ‘catch’ a Pokémon.” (2 pages)