Fleeing man pleads to be pulled from Columbia River

20-year-old Zachary Lawrence Bartz reportedly lead officers on a car chase before jumping into the Columbia River near Irrigon, Ore., on Wednesday, March 14. He told pursuing officers he couldn't swim and asked them to pull him out of the river. (Umatilla County Jail)
20-year-old Zachary Lawrence Bartz reportedly lead officers on a car chase before jumping into the Columbia River near Irrigon, Ore., on Wednesday, March 14. He told pursuing officers he couldn't swim and asked them to pull him out of the river. (Umatilla County Jail)

IRRIGON, Ore. (AP) — Authorities in Eastern Oregon say a fleeing man tried to use a backstroke to get across the Columbia River but, exhausted, said he couldn’t swim and pleaded with officers to retrieve him. They did.

Morrow County Sheriff Ken Matlack told the East Oregonian officers chased a stolen car Wednesday that went through two fences and a gate near Irrigon. It scraped up a steel pole that caused sparks and two brush fires.

After the car got stuck, the driver fled on foot and went into the Columbia.

Matlack says the man briefly tried to cross the river and then said he was tired and asked officers not to leave. They waded into chest-deep water to arrest him.

Deputies booked 20-year-old Zachary Lawrence Bartz on vehicle theft and other charges.
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Information from: East Oregonian, http://www.eastoregonian.info

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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