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Police: Suspect jumps in river to avoid arrest, but can’t swim

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PORTLAND, Ore. — A suspect jumped in the Willamette River to avoid arrest, but he did not appear to be a very good swimmer and was caught hiding along the riverbank, according to Portland police.

Randall Hartwell

Randall Hartwell

KPTV reports police were called to the 2300 block of Southeast Water Avenue, near the Tilikum Crossing bridgehead, at 2:39 p.m. Sunday on a report of a suspicious person possibly stealing wire from an electrical box.

Officers arrived and located the suspect. They said he provided a fake name that came back with a warrant. Police said when the officers told the man he was under arrest, he ran away toward the river and jumped in the water from the riverbank.

Police said he attempted to swim away, but he didn’t appear to be able to swim very well, and returned to shore.

Additional officers, a K-9 unit and boats from Portland Fire & Rescue and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene to track down the suspect.

Police said Randall Hartwell, 39, was located a short time later hiding in bushes and taken into custody.

He was taken to the hospital for treatment of exposure to the cold river water, before being booked in the Multnomah County Jail on charges including disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, interfering with a peace officer, furnishing false information to a police officer, criminal trespass, offensive littering and illegally jumping from the seawall.

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