Wanted North Bend man in custody after trying elude Eugene police in Willamette River




  • In US
  • 2022-06-28 03:07:10Z
  • By The Register-Guard
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Eugene police arrested a North Bend man suspected of committing two attempted murders in Coos Bay, following a chase in which the man swam to islands in the Willamette River to elude officers.

Earlier in the day EPD saw the suspect, identified as 51-year-old Leslie Clarence Bennett III, near River Avenue and River Road in northwest Eugene, according to police spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin in a news release. Bennett had a warrant for his arrest in Coos County, where he is facing 24 charges from March and April that include attempted murder, three counts of strangulation, four counts of kidnapping.

Officers tried to arrest Bennett at 2:09 p.m., when he jumped into the Willamette River and began swimming downstream to elude officers, according to McLaughlin. Bennett swam to an island, returned to the water and continued to swim away from officers, who from boats told Bennett he was under arrest, and he refused to come ashore, McLaughlin said.

Bennett was arrested in the water, a few thousand feet downstream of where he got in the river, close to Ayres Road in north Eugene a little after 4 p.m., according to McLaughlin,

Bennett was was evaluated by medics at Armitage Boat Ramp before being transported to Eugene Police Headquarters, McLaughlin said.

An alert message requesting residents in the area shelter in place was distributed during the incident.

According to court records, Bennett was arraigned March 28 in Coos County Circuit Court on 17 crimes the state alleges he committed on March 9, 10 and 25. He was released from custody on April 4 with the requirement he check in at court the next day, but court documents state that he never showed up, leading to a warrant issued for his arrest. After his release and the issuing of the warrant, Bennett was indicted by a grand jury April 27 on seven additional charges.

His 24 total charges include: Two counts of second-degree attempted murder, four counts of kidnapping, four counts of coercion, two counts of menacing, three counts of strangulation, four counts of fourth-degree assault, and one count each of burglary, second-degree assault, tampering with a witness, recklessly endangering another person, and endangering a person protected by a the Family Abuse Prevention Act.

The Coos County District Attorney's Office did not immediately return a request for additional comment Monday afternoon.

Louis Krauss covers breaking news for The Register-Guard. Contact him at lkrauss@registerguard.com, and follow him on Twitter @LouisKraussNews.

This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Man arrested after trying to elude police in Willamette River

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