ASTORIA, Ore. -- A suspected boat prowler fleeing from police drove his pickup off an Astoria pier and into the Columbia River.
He didn't get away.
“I don't think I've seen it in the 24 years I've been here,” said Deputy Chief Eric Halverson of the Astoria Police Department.
Halverson said it all started when someone called 911 around 10 a.m. Wednesday to report a prowler, trespassing on boats at a private shipping yard near Tongue Point.
Officers drove to the scene and found a man in a red pickup truck, who matched the description of the prowler.
Halverson said that man drove off, hit a gravel road and put his truck in reverse.
He then lined his truck up with the pier and hit the gas.
“I think that the officers expected that he was going to run out of road and turn around and come back. They weren't expecting he would actually drive off the pier,” Halverson said. “It's not something we see.”
The Daily Astorian reports the driver swam a couple of hundred feet into the frigid river before deciding to swim back.
KGW viewer DJ Moreland was filming on his smartphone as fishermen on a nearby boat helped rescue the driver.
Police 27-year-old Timofey Erofeeff of Scotts Mill was treated for hypothermia and later booked into the Clatsop County Jail on felony charges of burglary, attempting to elude police, offensive littering, as well as several misdemeanors.
In a court filing, the arresting officer from the Astoria Police Department estimated that Erofeeff was driving 45 mph when the pickup launched off the pier. A gasoline slick could be seen on the surface of the water.
Crews pulled the submerged truck out of the river Thursday afternoon.