Spokane police fished a suspected car thief out of the river during a mid-day chase through the west side of the city Tuesday morning.
Officers first spotted the stolen Acura speeding out of an alley near Northwest Boulevard around 11:30 a.m.
"He came flying out of an alley, almost hitting an officer. The officer saw all the occupants wearing gloves. There's no plates on the car so he activated his emergency equipment," Spokane Police Officer John Gately said.
Three of the passengers bailed out of the SUV and were arrested by police but a fourth, Ryan Pryor, 32, kept heading towards the river where he got out, started running and then launched himself over the edge of a 20-story embankment with patrol officers right on his heels. He then decided to jump into the Spokane River, in an attempt to swim to the other side, but didn't quite make it.
"He was in the river for about three and a half minutes. He got close to us and three of the officers we able to pull him up," Gately said.
The officers then started treating Pryor for hypothermia, wrapping him in blankets to help warm him up.
"We brought a blanket back down and went into life-saving mode, 'cause he wasn't shivering, really starting to get hypothermic. Another officer had hand warmers. So we stuck those on his person," Gately explained.
Officers, with the help of paramedics, brought Pryor back to the top of the embankment and loaded him into an ambulance.
Pryor, who has a criminal history that stretches back 15 years, will spend the night warming up in jail and then appear in court Wednesday on a variety of charges including eluding and car theft.
He was supposed to stand trial for property crimes back in July but those charges were dropped for unknown reasons.