Man jumps into river trying to get away from police

A man went to cold, wet extremes to flee from police Wednesday morning in Granite City.

Beginning around 8 a.m., Granite City Police began receiving calls reporting automobile burglaries along the Route 3 corridor. As officers responded to the reports, a suspect vehicle was described as a dark Jeep Cherokee with Missouri license plates, according to Granite City Police Lt. Jenna DeYoung.

“One of our officers was en route to American Steel on another burglary report, and he passed the suspect,” DeYoung said.

The officer attempted to pull over the Jeep, but the driver allegedly tried to flee. DeYoung said the pursuit was short, ending with the Jeep crashing right at the entrance to the McKinley Bridge in what she described as a “minor crash.”

The driver then attempted to get away by jumping into the Mississippi River, DeYoung said.

At one point he was in about 10 to 15 feet of water and swimming, according to police. “He was underwater at one point,” she said. “(Police) did not attempt to enter the river, as we knew it wasn’t safe for our officers.”

Eventually police were able to talk the man out of the river, DeYoung said. “He’s fine, just a little cold and wet,” she said.

The man’s identity was not yet released, as he was still in the process of being booked at the police department on Wednesday morning.

Charges are still pending, but DeYoung said they had received reports of nine to 10 burglaries Wednesday morning. She also said the suspect might be involved in other burglaries that have been reported recently in Granite City. The Jeep he was driving had been reported stolen in St. Louis, she said.

The investigation is ongoing.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald