WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ore. — Deputies saved a pregnant woman from drowning after her boyfriend drove them into the Tualatin River while fleeing in a stolen pickup, then left her behind as he escaped, the Washington County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) said.
The man who fled, later identified as 32-year-old Jonathan Michael Laura, is facing numerous felony and misdemeanor charges.
The woman was sitting in a 1992 Nissan pickup parked on the side of Southwest Minter Bridge Road south of Hillsboro around 2:10 a.m. Wednesday when a deputy approached her. She told the deputy the pickup was out of gas, and her boyfriend was going to get more.
As the deputy started driving away, he was informed that the pickup was stolen. He and several other deputies tried to approach the woman again, but by this time Laura had gotten in the driver's seat and drove off, the sheriff's office said.
When deputies tried to pull him over, he sped away and turned into a field adjacent to the Tualatin River, WCSO said. The suspect drove about 300 yards before driving off a steep embankment and into the river.
Deputies said Laura climbed out of the truck, swam to a riverbank and ran into the woods with a dog that was in the truck, leaving behind the woman, who said she was six months pregnant.
The woman got out and yelled to deputies that she couldn't swim as she floated down the river. One deputy jumped into the river to save her while another deputy went to get a throw rope.
The deputies were able to pull the woman from the water and bring her to shore.
Deputies searched the area for Laura with help from the Hillsboro Police Department, but they were unable to find him. Later that morning, deputies tracked down the dog, who was unharmed, and the stolen pickup removed from the river around noon that day.
Hillsboro police located Laura on Thursday and took him into custody. He was booked at the Washington County jail on the following charges:
- Unlawful use of a motor vehicle
- Possession of a stolen vehicle
- Attempt to elude (felony)
- Attempt to elude (misdemeanor)
- Reckless driving
- Driving while revoked
- Reckless endangering
- Criminal mischief in the first degree