Man drives Jeep into reservoir, cops say
Vail, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” A late-night plunge into Ruedi Reservoir was a poor idea for a 28-year-old Littleton man early Thursday morning.
Alan Harris was arrested on multiple charges after police said the 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee he was driving landed in the reservoir, authorities said.
“He proceeded down the main boat ramp into Ruedi Reservoir,” said Capt. Rich Duran of the Colorado State Patrol.
Duran said it was unknown if Harris knew he was on the boat ramp or thought he was on a road. A dog was in the Jeep with him.
“They both got out of the vehicle safely,” Duran said.
Steve Howard, a rescue diver, checked the vehicle and confirmed that no one was trapped inside. The vehicle settled about 40 feet from shore and 36 feet underwater, said Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson.
“We found a very intoxicated male [when we arrived],” Thompson said. “We had to consider him unreliable. He could barely stand.”
Because the man changed his story, the rescue team had to assume there might be other victims in the water, Thomspon said.
Howard and the fire department’s swift water rescue team also helped hook a cable from a tow truck to the Jeep so it could be pulled out of the popular boating and fishing reservoir.
Howard’s wetsuit might have been ruined by the gas and other liquids that leaked into the water from the Jeep, so the department might have lost more than sleep in the operation, Thompson said.
Harris was uninjured in the accident: “He was just wet and cold,” Thompson said.
Harris had the opportunity to warm up at the Eagle County Jail. The state patrol charged him with driving under the influence of alcohol; criminal mischief; possession of drug paraphernalia, no proof of insurance and careless driving.
Harris was released from jail Thursday on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.
The police report didn’t say if Harris was camping in the Fryingpan Valley at the time. Multiple campgrounds are located by the Ruedi Boat Ramp, including the Little Maud. It’s also unknown if he was with other people. The investigating officer was off-duty Thursday after working the Wednesday night shift.
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