Officials say the driver fled the scene, leaving the pregnant woman to fend for herself.
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A pregnant passenger was rescued from drowning early Wednesday morning after the driver of a stolen vehicle crashed into the Tualatin River — and left the woman to fend for herself.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said a sergeant first spotted the 1992 Nissan pickup stranded off SW Minter Bridge Road at approximately 2:08 a.m. on Wednesday. According to WCSO, the pregnant woman declined help from the sergeant as he searched the vehicle, telling him that the car had simply run out of gas and her boyfriend would be returning with more shortly.
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Just as the sergeant began to take off, however, he was reportedly made aware that the truck had been stolen. But as he and several other deputies attempted to go back to the vehicle and contact the woman again — the truck drove off.
“Deputies saw a male was driving the vehicle, and the female they contacted earlier was in the passenger seat,” WCSO said.
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Law enforcement said deputies attempted to pull the truck driver over but he doubled down, speeding away into a nearby field, eventually driving off a steep embankment into the Tualatin River.
Washington County Sheriff’s Office, aided by Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol successfully retrieve the stolen truck from the Tualatin River. March 30, 2022 (Courtesy WCSO)
According to officials, the driver escaped from the truck entrenched in water and swam to a riverbank before disappearing into the woods along with his dog, which was also apparently in the vehicle.
WCSO said the pregnant woman was left behind and cried out to deputies that she could not swim as she exited the sinking car. As the woman began to take off with the current, one deputy immediately plunged into the water to save her while another went to grab a rope.
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Working together, the deputies were able to remove the six months pregnant woman from the water and bring her to shore safely.
The body camera video of the water rescue can be viewed here.
Police said she was transported to a nearby hospital for evaluation, where she was quickly released without any serious injuries.
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Missing dog found safe, March 30, 2022 (Courtesy WCSO)
With the help of officers from the Hillsboro Police Department, deputies searched for the driver of the stolen vehicle — who has been identified as 32-year-old Jonathan Michael Laura –and the dog but were unable to locate them in the area.
Police said the animal was later found “safe and unharmed” by members of the Remotely Operated Vehicle Team and Washington County Animal Services. The driver has not yet been found.
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Law enforcement was able to successfully retrieve the stolen truck from the Tualatin River with the support of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has asked anyone with information regarding Laura or his whereabouts to contact at 503 629-0111.