Police: York Haven woman drove into river as cop approached

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

Police suspect alcohol might have influenced a York Haven woman's decision to drive her car into the Susquehanna River after eluding officers a short time earlier.

Local firefighters used a boat to bring the 37-year-old woman to shore Monday afternoon, Newberry Township Police Chief John Snyder said.

Conewago Boat Launch Area
(Photo courtesy of susquehannaheritage.org)

A Northeastern Regional officer had tried to pull over the woman for running a stop sign, but the woman failed to stop and drove into York Haven, which is patrolled by Newberry Township Police, according to Snyder.

Northeastern Regional officers alerted Newberry Township officers then stopped the chase after getting the woman's license plate number, he said.

Officers from both departments went to her home, but she wasn't there. A man who answered the door told the officers the woman was upset, according to Snyder.

Police kept looking for the woman, and Newberry Township Police Sgt. Keith Farren drove to the Conewago Boat Launch Area at York Haven's Brunner Island power plant to check there.  

"It's a common area for drivers to try to hide from us," Snyder said.

Distraught, erratic: Sure enough, the woman was parked there, he said. She was drinking beer or some sort of alcohol — apparently distraught and acting erratically, according to the chief.

That's when Farren made his move and, in turn, the woman made hers.

"He drove up to her vehicle, got out and started to approach it," Snyder said. "She just looked at him, put the vehicle in drive and drove right into the river."

The woman's Subaru ended up about 20 feet from shore, in about waist-high water, according to the chief.

Then, she simply sat there in her car, he said.

Rescued by boat: Local firefighters were called to the scene and ferried her to shore in a rescue boat, Snyder said, after which she was taken to Memorial Hospital.

The car was winched to shore and towed from the scene, he said.

Northeastern Regional Police Chief Bryan Rizzo said his department will file charges against the woman of fleeing police and running a stop sign, but police are waiting for results of blood-alcohol testing to see if she was legally intoxicated at the time.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.