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Mon, Aug. 03

Man rescued after trying to avoid arrest
Airlift needed to remove subject from below rim

A 23-year-old Florida man spent the first several hours of 2007 below the rim awaiting rescue after a failed attempt to avoid a traffic stop.

The man, whose name was not released, drove his Toyota SUV through a stop sign on Village Loop Road shortly after midnight on Monday, Jan. 1, according to park Management Assistant Leah McGinnis. A check indicated the plate was registered to a Saab.

Rangers pursued the driver with their lights and siren on but he fled and turned onto Desert View Drive.

McGinnis said they backed off from an outright chase because of bad road conditions but they continued to follow the vehicle.

After about 30 minutes of pursuit, the driver pulled over at the Thors Hammer Overlook, got out of his vehicle and disappeared over the side. It took three hours before rangers could raise a verbal response, McGinnis said.

A technical rescue team had to descend 600 feet to get to the man, stabilize him, give him warm clothing and package him for a short haul rescue.

McGinnis said he was hauled out about 11 a.m. The rescue involved 19 park employees and a pilot, she said.

He was taken to Flagstaff Medical Center where he was treated for an ankle sprain and then turned over to the Coconino County detention facility.

McGinnis said the man likely escaped more serious injury because he jumped in a place where there was a slope rather than a sheer drop and a lot of vegetation to slow his descent.

The SUV that he was driving was found to be stolen from a dealership where he worked, though the theft hadn't yet been reported.

McGinnis said investigators believe he came to the canyon intending to commit suicide.

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