PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man was arrested after he was pulled from the water more than four hours after an SUV went down an embankment and submerged into the Columbia River early Friday morning in North Portland.
A Jeep drove down the 500 block of North Bridgeton Road at Blue Frog Landing, catapulted through a fence, down an embankment and into the river around 2:15 a.m., officials with PF&R said.
When police and firefighters arrived they saw the man swimming around. Witness John Kempa told KOIN 6 News the police said, "You're not in trouble, come out. And he wouldn't come out."
The man hid underneath a boat house for hours.
The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office Dive Team was called to the scene at about 4 a.m. and scoured the water for more than two hours.
Shortly after 6:30 a.m., crews were pulling the vehicle out of the river when they also spotted the man hiding in the water behind a boathouse, Capt. Mary Lindstrand said.
The hiding spot was close to perfect. The back is like a garage door and underneath is open, so a boat could be driven and parked in there, deputies said.
The suspect used things to keep him afloat until deputies finally discovered him. He was lucky to survive, they said.
It's not clear exactly how or why the SUV ended up in the Columbia River, but witness Kempa said that route is often used as a shortcut.
"It's not infrequent that you'll see young people in a car just gunning it down this street thinking they're going to take a short cut to I-5 without having to sit in traffic on Marine Drive," Kempa said.
His name and condition has not been released at this time.
-- Brent Weisberg contributed to this report.
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