Wild car chase ends with suspect fleeing into turbulant ocean

November 12, 2001 11:00 pm

By Kent Gray

Triplicate staff writer

A high-speed chase through Crescent City streets, with an attempt to run over sheriffs deputies, ended with the suspect diving into stormy waters last night.

This guy had no regard for anyones safety, said Crescent City Police Officer Ed Fleshman. He was driving in excess of 100 miles per hour when he hit town ... he was running people off the road in his attempt to escape. There are many victims we havent even contacted yet.

Fleshman said he didnt know if anyone was actually hit by the suspect, but drivers had to maneuver to keep from being hit.

Park rangers initially stopped the vehicle south of town early last evening, but because they got a slow response regarding the vehicles stolen status, the driver was allowed to leave, Fleshman said.

When Del Norte County deputies attempted to stop the suspect just south of Crescent City, he reportedly tried to run them over before he raced into town, according to Fleshman.

We tried to keep up with him, but for the safety of the public, we couldnt. He was driving too fast and it wasnt worth risking innocent lives to capture a car thief. It was because of many good citizens who called in that we were able to locate him here, Fleshman said while standing in a driving rain outside the Del Norte Community Health Center on A Street.

The suspect drove through the health centers parking and out onto the adjacent beach, eventually abandoning the vehicle and jumping into the stormy ocean.

He took off into the water, said Fleshman. We were yelling at him to come back, You dont want to end your life that way, but he just flipped us off and kept going.

Fleshman said the suspect tried to climb onto some rocks but was unable to hang on. Police, sheriffs deputies, Search and Rescue and the U.S. Coast guard joined in the search for the suspect. By 7:30 p.m. there was no sign of him.

Asked if there was any chance the suspect could have doubled back to shore without being seen, Fleshman said Its not very plausible.