Steamboat Springs A man who eluded police officers Friday night and jumped into the Yampa River later was discovered to be in good condition in his Steamboat Springs home.
Steamboat Springs police officers, Steamboat Springs Fire-Rescue members and Routt County Search and Rescue volunteers spent almost two hours combing the banks of the Yampa River from 13th Street to the James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge before getting word the unidentified 22-year-old was OK.
The incident began at about 10 p.m. Friday night when a Steamboat Springs police officer spotted the man skateboarding near 10th Street and Lincoln Avenue. The man was heading westbound in the middle of the eastbound lanes of traffic, Steamboat police Sgt. Rich Brown said.
The patrol officer attempted to stop the man, Brown said, but the man fled to Little Toots Park off 12th Street, where he ran onto the Yampa River Core Trail. The officer last saw the man in West Lincoln Park, where he dove headfirst into the Yampa River.
Law enforcement personnel set up a search command post at the Stock Bridge Transit Center and patrolled the riverbanks looking for any sign of the man or whether he had emerged from the river safely.
Shortly before midnight, the man's mother arrived at the Stock Bridge Transit Center looking for her son, whose truck was parked there. Brown said the woman was concerned that her son had not come home and wasn't answering his phone.
Her son then called her on her cell phone, and the woman told the officers gathered at the transit center that she thought they were looking for her son. Brown said the man eventually admitted to his mom that officers were indeed looking for him.
The man was not arrested Friday night, and Brown said the investigation would continue today, when officers will visit with the man. Brown said police still aren't sure why the man fled from them.
Regardless, it was the best ending searchers could have hoped for.
Shortly before learning the man was safe, searchers expressed concern for his well-being.
"The violation is a moot point at this time," Brown said while the search was under way. "It would ease our minds to know this person got out safely."
Russ Sanford, president of Search and Rescue, said a person suffering from hypothermia would have difficulty swimming and being able to pull himself from the water.
"If he didn't get out of this water quickly, in these temperatures, he'd quickly become hypothermic," Sanford said.
About 20 law enforcement officers and emergency personnel took part in Friday night's search.