LOST AND FOUND: Missing Ohio man, 88, located in Kingston driving antique truck

Bob Kalinowski, The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
·3 min read

Apr. 8—After a several hundred-mile journey in an antique pickup truck, a missing 88-year-old man from Ohio was found safe in Kingston on Monday night.

Police stopped the truck — a 1946 Hudson — just before 9 p.m. and quickly discovered the driver, Fred Lorenz, had been reported missing in Lake County, Ohio.

Lorenz left his home in Leroy Twp. in northeast Ohio more than 10 hours earlier to have the truck serviced at a local automotive shop, family told authorities.

"He told us he was going to have the truck worked on and he got lost and he kept driving. He said he gassed up three times," Kingston police officer Tom McTague said. "He thought he was in Ohio. I'm like, 'No bud. You are in Pennsylvania.'"

While police were told Lorenz has medical problems, including dementia, the man "had his wits about him" and was very nice and cooperative, McTague said.

After Lorenz's family became concerned Monday afternoon, the Lake County Sheriff's Office issued a missing adult alert for him and told the public to be on the lookout for the distinctive classic vehicle.

Lorenz told McTague he remembers driving on mostly rural back roads during his 350-mile drive that landed him in Kingston. He wanted to drive more, actually, and asked McTague for the location of the nearest gas station, McTague said.

After being evaluated at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, Lorenz was released to a family member from Philadelphia. A son from Ohio later picked him up in Philadelphia, police said.

Lorenz is well known in his local community as the retired owner of several Spudnuts doughnut franchises he opened after graduating from Penn State. After the parent company went out of business years ago and they couldn't obtain the special mix using potato flour, the couple started making their own mix and kept the stores alive, according to local media reports in Ohio.

Lorenz's daughter, Ann Garton, thanked everyone who was concerned on local police department Facebook pages in Ohio.

"Thank you to a fantastic community for everyone's prayers and efforts to find him. We truly are blessed by all the good people in our communities," Garton wrote. "The Lorenz family are grateful we have you as neighbors. And super grateful we found him safe."

She then posted about the family's next concern: getting the classic truck returned back to Ohio.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Kingston police still had the truck stored in its garage.

McTague said he was in touch with the garage Lorenz was taking the car to and the owner said he regularly uses a vehicle transport service and would make arrangements to have the truck taken back to Ohio.

McTague said he first spotted Lorenz's truck driving extremely slow on West Market Street.

"He's driving 5 to 10 mph at most. He literally was driving down the middle of the road. I ran the license plate. That's when the entry came up it was was a missing person," McTague said.

McTague then stopped the truck and talked to Lorenz for a while, telling him he was reported missing.

During their conversation, Lorenz told the officer he hadn't eaten all day during his hundreds of miles of driving.

"This poor guy. This could have been deadly," McTague said. "He was just roaming around."

Contact the writer:

bkalinowski@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2055; @cvbobkal