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Grand Theft Auto Suspect Leaps Off Bridge into River After Crashing Van (VIDEO)


Most law enforcement chases tend to end if the suspect vehicle crashes, but this one in Lee County, Florida, had not even reached its dramatic, dangerous conclusion. As seen on footage, a man crashed a van on a bridge, pinballing between barriers. Instead of surrendering to arriving officials, the man stepped over a barrier and guardrail. After an initial pause, he leapt into the water below.

Deputies say they nonetheless apprehended Bryan Gray, 34, and took him to a local hospital for treatment.

According to authorities, they tried to make a traffic stop on a stolen van going down Bayshore Road. An officer with the Fort Myers Police Department said the driver was going approximately 100 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone. The driver, later identified as Gray, sped off toward U.S. 41, deputies said.

“Aviation pilots arrived on scene and observed him from the air, capturing this FLIR footage from Chopper One,” they said. “At the top of the Edison Bridge, the van abruptly swerved and crashed into a retaining barrier. Gray got out of the van, jumped over the safety barrier, and dove into the the Caloosahatchee River.”

As seen on footage, the crash was anything less than gentle. The van veered toward the barrier on the right-hand side, bounced off, hit the left-hand barrier, then skidded to a stop.  In a matter of mere seconds, the driver exited the van. Authorities arrived at the scene in their own vehicles, as the suspect driver went over a barrier and a guardrail. Standing at the edge of the bridge, he appeared to look over his shoulder. He yanked his hands up then peered into the Caloosahatchee River below. After giving one more look back at authorities, he jumped off, rotating face forward, and landing on his back in the water.

Footage shows authorities on a boat pulling him out of the water.

“A perimeter was established, and FMPD’s Marine Unit was deployed,” deputies said. “Gray was pulled from the water and detained by authorities before being transported to a local hospital to receive treatment.”

Authorities say Gray will face pending charges of grand theft auto, and fleeing and eluding. Officials have cited him for allegedly not having a driver’s license, speeding, and leaving the scene of a crash. Court records for this case are not yet available.

[Screenshot via Lee County Sheriff’s Office]

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