Stolen car hoax triggered river search, police say
A search-and-rescue mission in the Spokane River on Saturday was triggered by a man who drove his car into the water, then reported it stolen to try to cover up the crash, police said today.
Christopher G. Puckett, 30, is in jail on several felony charges, including filing a false claim, after police determined he crashed his car into the river near 5800 E. Upriver Drive, then showed up at a Hillyard bar about 2:30 a.m. “intoxicated and soaking wet,” according to a news release.
Puckett urged the tavern owner not to talk to police and reported the car stolen to police and to his insurance company. Dive crews scoured the river for the car’s driver with the help of a sheriff’s helicopter.
Officers arrested Puckett Monday on charges of tampering with a witness, failure to leave information, making a false or misleading statement to a public servant and insurance fraud.
In a news release, police thanked “citizens who cooperated with the investigation despite being intimidated by the suspect.”
This article has been updated. A previous version said the event occurred on the wrong day because of incorrect information provided by the Spokane Police Department.