Echuca police chase wanted man into Murray River

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Appeal: Police are appealing for dash-cam footage of an incident on the Murray Valley Hwy on Monday, November 29. Photo by Megan Fisher

Two Echuca police officers braved chilly waters last week to catch a man wanted for numerous firearms and theft offences after he allegedly swam across the Murray River to escape Victoria.

Police detected the man behind the wheel of a Toyota LandCruiser around 3.15pm on Monday, November 29, after the vehicle was reported stolen from Mitiamo the same day.

They pursued the vehicle along sections of the Murray Valley Hwy between Torrumbarry to Wharparilla before deploying stop sticks, which caused one of the tyres on the LandCruiser to deflate.

The driver drove into the Wharparilla Forest before allegedly abandoning the vehicle and swimming about 100m across the Murray River.

Two police officers dove into the river fully clothed to coax the man back to Victorian soil.

The officers allegedly negotiated with him for about 10 minutes in the water, before he agreed to swim back to shore where he was arrested.

The 35-year-old man from Mitiamo was charged with numerous offences including prohibited person possessing a firearm; possessing a prohibited weapon; possessing cartridge ammunition; theft of a motor vehicle (x3); displaying false plates; dangerous driving while pursued by police; failing to stop when directed; reckless conduct; careless driving; and criminal damage.

He was remanded to appear at Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, December 8.

Police are appealing to anyone who was driving along the Murray Valley Hwy between Torrumbarry and Wharparilla between 3.15pm and 3.30pm on Monday, November 29, who may have witnessed the incident or has dash-cam footage to contact Echuca Police Station on 5483 1500.