Arizona man pursued by police drives off 200-foot embankment into river bottom

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Arizona man pursued by police drives off 200-foot embankment into river bottom

A police pursuit in the Phoenix, Ariz., metropolitan area Tuesday night ended with the suspect driving off the interstate and down a 200-foot embankment, according to authorities.

Phoenix Fire Capt. Todd Keller told Fox 10 the man, who is in his 20s, was rescued from the river bottom near Interstate 10 and the Salt River. Keller said crews performed a steep-angle rescue and had to scale two 100-foot cliffs to get to the driver.

When rescuers got down to the bottom of the embankment, the man was out of the car. Keller said they aren’t sure if the man was ejected or if he crawled out at some point.

Keller said the man was “very lucky” as he was taken to the hospital only complaining of rib pain.

“Two hundred feet down is substantial,” Keller said. “This is a high risk rescue for our members of low frequency.”

A second person in the car was taken into custody in the embankment, according to Fox 10.

A picture of Technical Rescue Teams from Phoenix Fire Department performing a steep angle rescue.
Authorities said the suspect was rescued from the river bottom near Interstate 10 and the Salt River.
Phoenix Fire Department

The outlet reported that the crash began when Tempe police tried to stop the driver near 40th Street and University Drive while investigating an occupied stolen car.

The driver refused to stop and hit one of the police cruisers while fleeing the scene, resulting in a short pursuit, which was ultimately terminated due to the suspect “driving at a high rate of speed with erratic behavior.

Later on, officers patrolling the area saw the suspect’s car over the embankment and called in rescue crews.

A picture of Technical Rescue Teams from Phoenix Fire Department performing a steep angle rescue.
Crews performed a steep-angle rescue and scaled two 100-foot cliffs to reach the driver.

A picture of Technical Rescue Teams from Phoenix Fire Department performing a steep angle rescue.
Phoenix Fire Capt. Todd Keller Keller said the man was “very lucky” as he was taken to the hospital for injuries.

The timeline between the pursuit ending and the suspect driving off the cliff was not disclosed.

There were no reports of injuries to any of the first responders involved in the pursuit and rescue.

Tempe police, Phoenix police and the U.S. Marshals were all at the scene, according to Keller.

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