A Redway man drowned in the Eel River yesterday afternoon after fleeing from a Sheriff’s Deputy. At about 12:10 p.m. a Humboldt County Deputy Sheriff conducted a traffic stop on State Route 254 (Ave. of the Giants) north of Weott. After initially failing to yield, the driver of the vehicle pulled to the side of the road and jumped over a steep 60-foot embankment toward the river. The deputy did not chase him, but stayed with the passenger of the vehicle who had now also exited the car and become belligerent.
Meanwhile, State Park Rangers, a CHP Officer, and additional Sheriff’s Deputies arrived to search for the driver who had fled. The search was impeded by inclement weather, with hail, high gusts of winds and temperatures in the low forties. At about 1:30 p.m. Sheriff’s Deputies located the body of the driver in the Eel River.
The identity of the decedent is being withheld pending the notification of next of kin.
The deputy eventually had to arrest the passenger of the vehicle, Kelly Elizabeth Stradinger, 21 of Redway, who continued to fail to comply with his instructions. Stradinger kicked the deputy several times, while her dog bit him in the leg. She was booked for resisting/obstructing a peace officer and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. She was released on her own recognizance and is scheduled to appear in court on June 02, 2008.