Suspect leaps into Similkameen River after off-duty cop makes arrest

Kelowna man deals with hypothermia and charges

An off-duty Princeton RCMP officer – summoned from his home by residents – arrested a break and enter suspect who promptly threw himself into the Similkameen River in an attempt to escape.

Shortly after 9 a.m. on April 9 the suspect was pulled from the water. After further resisting attempts to take him into custody, he was transported to Princeton General Hospital and treated for hypothermia, said Corporal Chad Parsons, detachment commander.

The events composed a dramatic conclusion to a routine check approximately six hours previously.

Two officers were on patrol when they observed a suspicious white Chrysler parked on Waterfront Avenue.

The plates came back as stolen, and on further investigation the members discovered a shotgun wedged between the car’s front seats, said Parsons.

The gun was equipped with a pistol and muzzle grip.

Police did not enter the vehicle at that time, but it was secured and ready to be towed.

“These members have some experience,” said Parsons, “enough to feel that someone might go back to the tow yard. They secured [the car] at the detachment.”

At about 7 a.m. employees of Mario’s Towing on Highway 3 reported an attempted break and enter, however a suspect was frightened off.

Two hours later a second attempt was made to break into the yard and citizens in the area gave chase.

One of the pursuers ran to the home of a Princeton constable and “pounded on the door,” said Parsons.

He added: “We don’t normally encourage this.”

The constable suited up and chased the man down the banks of the Simikameen. After an arrest was made the man escaped police and jumped in the river.

“He started floating down the river, and he floated under the bridge.”

The man was arrested at the water’s edge a short time later.

‘He’s lucky he got out, really,” said Parsons, noting the current river conditions.

A 32-year-old Kelowna man is facing charges of escaping lawful custody, possession of a prohibited firearm and unsafe storage of a firearm.

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