Bend DUII driver crashes car into canal, rescued

Was swept downstream; passenger was sitting on roof

BEND, Ore. - A 52-year-old suspected drunk driver crashed his car into an irrigation canal northeast of Bend early Saturday and was swept downstream, prompting a rescue effort and his arrest.

A female passenger was found sitting on the car, Deschutes County sheriff's deputies said.

Deschutes 911 dispatch got a call from OnStar around 2:25 a.m. about a possible crash n the area of Hamehook Road and Pioneer Loop, said sheriff's Sgt. Troy Gotchy.

Dispatchers contacted the occupants of the white 2013 Chevy Camaro and learned they had crashed into the North Unit Irrigation District canal, Gotchy said.

Deputies later determined that driver Thomas Heywood, 52, left the road, over-corrected, then again left the road on the opposite site and crashed into the canal, Gotchy said.

Deputies and Bend Fire Department crews were dispatched to the scene, located the woman sitting on the car's roof and learned the driver had been swept down the canal by the current as he tried to get out of the car.

They were able to find Heywood floating downstream and rescued him using a ladder from a home about ¾ of a mile from the crash scene, Gotchy said.

Heywood was pulled from the canal, evaluated by medics and after an investigation arrested on charges of DUII and recklessly endangering another person, his passenger. Neither were injured, the sergeant added.

Bend firefighters stood by on scene with a swift water rescue crew while American Towing pulled the car from the canal, Gotchy said.

Heywood was booked into the county jail, and released at midday on his own recognizance, a jail officer said.

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