Fire and Ice: Man leaves behind flaming shopping cart, evades police by jumping in river

Bennett, 52, fled Police by jumping into the Willamette River after being found pushing a shopping cart that was fully engulfed in flames down a bike path.

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (KMTR) — Officers with the Springfield Police Department responded to a report of a subject pushing a shopping cart that was fully engulfed in flames down the West D bike path in Springfield.

Officers arrived and found that the flames were roughly 12 feet in the air and catching tree limbs and surrounding grass on fire.

The suspect, identified as Douglas Brian Bennett, 52, noticed the police presence and fled toward the Willamette River. With officers close behind, Bennett jumped into the river and began swimming away from the river bank.

With the help of the Eugene/Springfield Fire Department and their rescue boat, officers paralleled Bennett on both sides of the river. Bennett slowly made his way across the river, and at times, officers lost visual contact as he struggled to keep his head above the surface.

When Bennett arrived at the south end of the river, he was immediately taken into custody, and later transported to Riverbend Hospital for symptoms of hypothermia.

In total, Bennett was in the water for 17 minutes.

After his body temperature was restored, Bennett was lodged at the Lane County Jail.

When questioned about the fire, Bennett said, "I guess I was just a little too high."

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