An attentive driver on the Southern State Parkway in North Amityville helped locate a missing West Hempstead man with dementia in his car on Friday, the same day a Silver Alert was issued asking the public to be on the lookout for him.
State Police said the blue 2014 Honda Accord driven by Thomas O'Dwyer, 75, was stopped by troopers on the northbound Wantagh State Parkway near Hempstead Turnpike shortly after the Southern State driver called police -- and O'Dwyer was reunited with his concerned brother.
The call was placed at about 9:30 a.m., police said.
The alert had been issued and posted on state road electronic signboards just after 12:30 a.m., officials said. The message was on signboards on the Northern State and Southern State and the Long Island Expressway, as well as other area state roads using the electronic INFORM system signboards.
The Silver Alert program is part of a statewide system designed to alert drivers on state roads to concerns related to missing or at-risk adults.
Usually, those adults have such cognitive issues as dementia, officials said.
"It works," State Police spokesman Trooper Frank Bandiero said Friday of the alert system. "Someone read it, said, 'There's the car.' And they called and we found him, and everybody's fine."
Bandiero said a driver called 911 after seeing the blue Honda at about 9:30 a.m. headed west on the Southern State near Route 110. Troopers then found the car, with O'Dwyer at the wheel, on the northbound Wantagh just south of Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow. State Police then contacted the Nassau County Police Missing Persons detectives, who were able to reconnect O'Dwyer with his brother, whose identity was not released by investigators.
It was not immediately clear where O'Dwyer was during the nine hours between the time he was reported missing and the time he was found.