UPDATE: Man Arrested For False Report After Driving Car Into The Spokane River
SPD NEWS RELEASE: On January 27, 2011 at 11:30 a.m. Spokane Police and Spokane County Sheriff's Office responded on a search and rescue mission after receiving deputies noticed skid marks going into the Spokane River, near 5800 East Upriver Drive.
After an exhausting investigation, officers have arrested and booked Christopher G. Puckett (30) for Tampering with a witness, False Claims or Proof (Insurance Fraud), Fail to leave Information, Unattended and Making a false or misleading statement to a public servant. Deputies discovered the vehicle had left the roadway, collided with a tree and was in the Spokane River. The SCSO Dive Team was activated and coordinated cold water rescue efforts; with the assistance of the SCSO helicopter (AIR-1).
A check of the license plate showed it had been reported stolen to Spokane Police at 9:00am that morning. Investigators were able to locate the truck driver, Puckett, who after crashing into the river, went into a Hillyard bar around 2:30am. He was intoxicated and soaking wet. It appears as though instead of calling police to report the crash, Puckett reported his vehicle stolen, filing a false police report. Puckett also contacted his insurance company to file the stolen vehicle claim. He later lied to investigators about the sequence of events, and attempted to compel the tavern owner not to talk with police.
Cpl. Adams, SPD Collision Investigator, and Major Crimes Sgt. Mark Griffiths spent their entire Sunday tracking down witnesses, locating the suspect and gathering evidence. A particular appreciation to the citizens who cooperated with the investigation despite being intimidated by the suspect.
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