View from Gyro Park beach toward Sunningdale earlier in February. Sheri Regnier photo

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

An Okanagan man is facing several charges in court today after breaking into a Trail home then attempting to evade police by swimming across the Columbia River.

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This case began to unfold Thursday night, when the 29-year old male suspect broke into a house in Upper Sunningdale while the family was home.

“He entered a house and confronted the family,” Trail RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid told the Trail Times.

“He ran when he heard the police sirens, and we chased him down the hill.”

At some point in the pursuit, which began near the Sunningdale water tower, the man entered the Columbia River from an unknown locale.

“We don’t know exactly where he entered the river,” said Reid. “But he swam across the river from the Sunningdale-side to the Tadanac-side in this temperature.”

(A witness says the man wound up at the Teck Trail pump house, though police did not confirm this.)

“Obviously, he had symptoms of hypothermia when he was located by police,” Reid said.

“But he has been in custody ever since, and he is in court in Nelson today (Feb. 24) to face several charges.”

The temperature was – 5.3 C at the Columbia River surface water station near Birchbank on Friday, Feb. 21, according to BC Hydro data.

Court documents show the suspect is being charged with: break and enter a dwelling with intent to commit; disguising face with intent to commit an offence; and uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm.

Police do not identify suspects by name until charges are officially sworn in by Crown counsel.



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