Watch: Man dives off bridge to escape cops after crashing van

The suspect tried to swim away but was soon picked up by police officers

By Howard Cohen
Miami Herald

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — This story is not about how you fine-tune your diving for a spot in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Rather, it is a cautionary tale that serves as an example of how to get in a lot of hot water.

According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, deputies tried to stop 34-year-old Bryan K. Gray who, they say, was suspected of driving a stolen van.

On Friday, just before midnight, deputies spotted Gray on Bayshore Road and, according to the sheriff’s office, Gray took off westbound toward U.S. 41.

That’s when helicopter pilots beamed their gaze at the speeding van. And that’s when they saw the van suddenly swerve and crash into a retaining barrier atop the Edison Bridge.

According to deputies, Gray got out of the van, jumped over the safety barrier, and dove into the Caloosahatchee River.

Gray tried to swim away but was pulled from the water by Fort Myers police officers. He was taken to a nearby hospital for “treatment” of undisclosed injuries, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

The four-lane bridge stands 55 feet above the water. By comparison, the 10-meter dive platform tower used in Olympic competitions and other meets is 33 feet tall.

“That was reckless. You can’t teach dumb or stupid. They’re natural-born abilities,” witness John Scherer told WINK News in Fort Myers.

“While he may not have earned a gold medal for his high dive, Gray did find himself in hot water when he earned pending charges of grand theft auto and fleeing and eluding,” Lee County deputies said on Facebook.

Gray was previously arrested and pleaded no contest on charges of first-degree robbery with a weapon in Lee County in July 2009 and released in May 2010, according to court records.

©2021 Miami Herald. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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