Two arrested following chase, search-and-rescue effort
Law enforcement officers arrested two men, and possibly saved their lives, following a foot chase near Wrights Lake Road and U.S. Highway 50 that began Sunday morning, Jan. 24, and lasted into the following day.
El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputies, the California Highway Patrol and U.S. Forest Service officers responded to the area about 30 miles west of South Lake Tahoe Sunday morning to assist a California Department Fish and Wildlife officer who stopped a vehicle from which two men fled on foot and was later found to contain illegal drugs, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.
“The two men ran down into the snowy canyon and crossed the river, eluding officers,” according to the release. “During the foot chase, a firearm was dropped by one of the men and recovered by officers.
“Officers stayed in the area and the two men were spotted by a U.S. Forest Service officer a few hours later, but they fled back into the snowy canyon and across the river, again eluding capture,” the release continues. “The officer yelled to the two men that they were in danger of freezing and to give up, but the two continued to flee into the forest after crossing the freezing river.”
Around 8:40 p.m. Sunday, one of the men called 911 and reported they were somewhere across the river and were in fear of freezing to death, according to the release. The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office launched a search-and-rescue effort including members of the El Dorado Sheriff’s SWAT Team, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Dive Team and search-and-rescue personnel. SWAT Team members searched nearly 7 miles of canyon before locating the men Monday morning, Jan. 25. Both men gave up peacefully after being discovered. The men were suffering from severe hypothermia and probable frostbite at the time they were found, according to the release.
Both men — a 30-year-old parolee from Eureka, California, and a 32-year-old probationer from Hayfork, California, who had four active arrest warrants — were taken to a local hospital for treatment and turned over to Fish and Wildlife officers for arrest and prosecution.
“You will never see two men so happy to go to a warm, dry jail cell,” according to the release.
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