Man eludes police, survives Yampa plunge

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— 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.

Comments

digit1964 5 years, 11 months ago

Well thought out comment BusGus! did you think that up on your own?

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digit1964 5 years, 11 months ago

Oscar,, we are all glad that we have an officer of the law, like yourself, explaining things like that for us..

maybe you can define "crime" for us as well....

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Russell Orms 5 years, 11 months ago

Should we revisit the "expanding education" issue?

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digit1964 5 years, 11 months ago

22 .year old that lives with his mom! I am still laughing.... I am sure he needs to live with her to support her..... yeah right...

Keep skate board'n dude! my 10 year old will meet you at the park!

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Stephen Blinkenberg 5 years, 11 months ago

A 22y/o "Man" that lives with his Mom? Shouldn't that read "A 22 y/o Boy...?

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Andrew Bisbee 5 years, 11 months ago

Why were the cops chasing him? For riding a skateboard? I appreciate our police force, but come on... lighten up a bit.

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Oscar 5 years, 11 months ago

Skateboarding in the middle of US hwy 40 is a crime; and so is failing to stop on command from officers and eluding police. I do not understand why he was not arrested on Friday night.

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sickofitall 5 years, 11 months ago

Probably a waste of taxpayer money. Oh, my God, skating on US 40!!! Give him the chair!

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OnTheBusGus 5 years, 11 months ago

Heck no, I saw it on a bumper sticker! Just had to add it, seemed so appropriate.

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below_me 5 years, 11 months ago

His mom must be proud. But not as proud as Kanes mom.

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MtnWarlock 5 years, 11 months ago

Skateboarding is not a crime. People on skateboards commit crime, like anyone else! Maybe this dude had some chronic or rock in his pocket and had to ditch it for fear of going to jail? Maybe he was paranoid about getting in trouble for skating in the road! Eluding the cops is a crime and I wonder why he didn't get cited! Diving in freezing, rapid flowing rivers without proper gear is "stupid" unless you have something to hide besides shriveled private parts! LOL! Have a good day!

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animalfarm 5 years, 11 months ago

The man was heading westbound in the middle of the eastbound lanes of traffic, Steamboat police Sgt. Rich Brown said. Had one of you hit him and killed him, you might have wished the police had found him sooner.

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Craig Stanton 5 years, 11 months ago

This incident is reminiscent of a previous unfortunate event:

From the NPS Morning Report:

"Yosemite NP (CA) BASE Jump; Search: At first light on June 9th 1999, a man jumped from El Capitan and parachuted to the floor of Yosemite Valley, landing in El Capitan Meadow. Rangers John Stobinski and Tom Schwartz saw the jump. As the jumper was disconnecting his harness, they identified themselves and ordered him to stop. He looked at the rangers, smiled and fled. The rangers gave chase for approximately 500 yards until the jumper entered the Merced River, swollen by spring run off. He was swept downstream and was not seen again by the rangers. A search of a two mile stretch of the Class 3 Merced River was conducted utilizing the park's contract helicopter and ten swift water trained rescuers. The jumper was not located, and it's not certain if he got out of the river. Evidence indicates that he was an experienced and professional BASE jumper named Frank Gambalie. Gambalie is reported by close friends as reliable and punctual; he was expected home in Lake Tahoe on the evening of June 9th and had a job appointment the following morning. He didn't make either of these appointments, and, as far as investigators have been able to determine, has not called any friends or relatives. The search continued on June 10th. Gambalie's vehicle was found parked near a trailhead that leads to the top of El Capitan. No further sign of him has yet been found."

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shadow 5 years, 11 months ago

Hey, a skateboarder got killed in '89 coming down Rabbit Ears Pass in the middle of the night. DRT (dead right there).

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longtimelocal 5 years, 11 months ago

Everyone laugh at the cops for attempting to contact a skateboarder, but let somebody hit this knucklehead skateboarding (at night) the wrong way on Lincoln, and live with the fact someone got killed or injured, and see how that goes. Since this is so petty (not) lets just get rid of all the "petty" enforcment! 1. All bikes can ride wherever, including down main street sidewalks. Petty to enforce right?

  1. Dogs can be let roam loose and off leash without owners around. Who cares if they bite someone or get killed on the road. Petty to enforce right?

  2. skateboarders can ride wherever they want, anytime anywhere. If you hit one and kill them, it sucks to be you. Petty to enforce right?

  3. You can play loud music whenever and wherever. If you live next door, too bad. Petty to enforce right?

Everybody lambastes the cops for trying to do what are the stated city ordinances, and traffic laws. These were put in place for a reason. It IS illegal to skateboard on Lincoln, let alone middle of the road, wrong way at night. Maybe somebody gets killed, but at least the cops don't have to hear about "petty enforcement"! Be too busy going to funerals and making hospital visits for this "petty enforcement". Use some common sense Sickofitall and bus gus!

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nmypinon 5 years, 11 months ago

Thank you longtime, well said. Kind of changing the subject, any news on the teenager ( from stmbt) that crashed on his skateboard several weeks ago & had to get flown flight for life because of his injuries? I have never seen anything about him in the paper. Just from school kids.

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justathought 5 years, 11 months ago

The only way this guy will learn a lesson is to hit him where it hurts, in the wallet. He should be made to pay every penny of the cost for 20 law enforcement officers and emergency personnel and their equipment to look for his sorry azz, then hours of community service working in the ER on accident victims. A "man" that makes this type of idiotic choice is a danger to himself and others, makes one wonder what kind of drug he was on.

Shadow, wasn't the "accident" in '89 when they were coming down the pass laying flat on the boards making it next to impossible for a driver to see them?

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OnTheBusGus 5 years, 11 months ago

Well, let's just make skateboards illegal since they are so dangerous. Maybe some skateboard helmet laws, mandatory brakes etc. How about a better skate park, let just start there. I used to skate about 150 years ago when I was young. Funny how the attitude against skateboards never changes.

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techno_babble 5 years, 11 months ago

nmypinon - the young man survived and is back in the 'boat. I spoke with him yesterday and he reproted that overall he is OK, but still headaches. It was pretty scary at the time.

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id04sp 5 years, 11 months ago

That base jumper guy is probably living in some tropical paradise with the beneficiary of his multi-million dollar life insurance policy . . . .

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shadow 5 years, 11 months ago

justa - you remeber it same as I do. My recollection, the driver hit him and wasn't sure what he'd hit and drove to Walden before he reported it. I believe he was charged and then either acquitted or had charges reduced. The judge let him off easy, because altho he'd freaked out and left the scene, he had second thoughts and turned himself in. I think it happened in May or June.

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rockie29 5 years, 11 months ago

The kid is lucky to be alive. He should have been charged with evading arrest, and was stupid in his actions. Maybe he was the one who was reported in The Record to have 'lunged' at a car about 7-10 days ago. It wouldn't surprise me at all. The cops must have been onto him, and he might have had drugs on him, so he had to run in his mind. That must have been one cold swim!

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424now 5 years, 11 months ago

Once upon a time, not so long ago I was late for work. We had only one car at the time and my wife had it. Heading out the front door I noticed one of my boy's new boards behind the door. The thought that went through my addled brain was "hey it's down the mountain from here to work, I could make it!" We had a very steep road leaving the driveway. By the time I realized I was going to fast for the board I was on it was too late. I managed to negotiate the first to turn by the grace of God and found myself speeding down the main drag. I say speeding because I was moving faster than the traffic. I can still see this one kids face as I rolled past him sitting in the back seat of his daddy's car. I had to be traveling at forty miles per hour to be passing the cars. No one called the police. I wasn't ticketed for speeding, however, had an officer been present when came shooting out of my driveway onto the main drag he would have been right to hit me reckless endangerment.

It is not always the intent of a skateboarder to wreak havoc. Most of the time, they are just in a little over their heads. It will do us all a great deal of good to recall once in awhile what youth felt like. I know I won't be hopping on a board at the top of any steep roads for the rest of god given life.
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shadow 5 years, 11 months ago

424now,

Did you cool off with a swim in the river?

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forreal 5 years, 11 months ago

wow, there's some big problems in steamboat. lol. what on earth would people talk about if something really happened. who cares if this guy is alive or not.

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dave reynolds 5 years, 11 months ago

while ive had some problems with skateboarders(minamal)the worst offenders in my opinion are bike riders..share the road i do but some of them dont..riding three,four five abreat on county roads,hwy 40 and lincoln then when you pass them they welcome you with the your number one sign while you are giving them room..as well as skateboarders who are breaking the law we should crack down on roadies and mtn bikers too..by the way even if they aren't playing by the rules(nobody does in the boat these days)i still give them plenty of room..wouldn't want their death or injury wieghing on my mind

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