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Firefighter charged in connection with fatal crash

Edward "Ted" Ackerman was accused of tampering with evidence after a fatal crash that led to the hit-and-run arrest of a district attorney's office investigator

By Douglass Dowty
Syracuse Media Group

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A suspended Syracuse firefighter was charged today with a felony, accused of tampering with evidence after a fatal crash that led to the hit-and-run arrest of a district attorney's office investigator.

Edward "Ted" Ackerman, 37, will be arraigned Friday morning after being ticketed today by Syracuse police on the evidence tampering charge, said his lawyer, Jeff Schiano.

The charge is a Class E felony, carrying a possible prison sentence of 1 1/3 to 4 years, though no jail time is mandatory.

The DA's investigator, Peter Rauch, was driving the vehicle that struck pedestrian Seth Collier, 18, on North Salina Street, authorities have said. Rauch, who has since been fired by Onondaga County DA William Fitzpatrick, was charged with felony leaving the scene of a fatal crash. A grand jury has yet to indict him and he remains free on bail.

Ackerman was apparently following in a vehicle behind Rauch during the 1:30 a.m. April 21 incident, a source told Syracuse.com.

Experts said that Ackerman could not be charged for failing to report the crash.

But the charge suggests that he's accused of trying to cover up evidence afterward. Under law, tampering with physical evidence covers either fabrication or concealment of evidence.

Schiano would not say anything about what Ackerman is accused of doing, noting that he hadn't yet seen the specific allegations from special prosecutor Gregory Oakes.

A source told Syracuse.com that Ackerman and another man riding with Rauch went into the Pastime Athletic Club after the crash and refused to answer the door for police for an hour.

A manager went to the club later and discovered that someone had tampered with the network of security cameras, the source said.

Oakes could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday evening.

Ackerman was involved in his own hit-and-run last year on McDonald Road in Syracuse. It wasn't discovered until Ackerman reported his vehicle's damage to his insurance company. He later pleaded guilty to a lesser crime and paid a fine.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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