A Warren man narrowly escaped death or serious injury early Friday morning when the sport utility vehicle he was driving ended up in the Allegheny River after becoming airborne for nearly 100 feet.
City of Warren Police and the Warren City Fire Department responded to a one-vehicle accident around 1 a.m., Thursday morning.
While on patrol, Sgt. Joseph Sproveri reported seeing a silver Dodge Durango, operated by William Bennett, 30, Warren, accelerate at a high rate of speed from a parking lot near Cronie's and the Draft House on Pennsylvania Avenue. The vehicle allegedly fish-tailed as it proceeded in the direction of the patrol vehicle.
Times Observer photos by Brian Collins
SUV into Allegheny
Debris litters the bank near the location where William Bennett’s vehicle entered the Allegheny River, sinking to the bottom shortly after. Bennett was driving at a high rate of speed eastbound on Pennsylvania Avenue when his vehicle left the road, launched over a cement barrier (above), and traveled 100 feet through the air before striking a fence and landing in the Allegheny River.
Despite activating his emergency lights and siren, Sproveri reported that Bennett sped off
Due to hazardous road conditions, Sproveri deemed a high speed chase unsafe.
While in pursuit, Sproveri made contact with two witnesses who reported seeing Bennett drive by at speeds estimated between 90-100 mph.
Upon arriving at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Hemlock Road, Sproveri observed two individuals running across the parking lot of the Eagles Club.
Sproveri then noticed skid marks in the snow going over the curb and over a cement barricade.
According to Sproveri, upon exiting his patrol car, he observed Bennett of the Durango crawling out of the river.