Bend fugitive jumps in canal, can't get away, deputies say

Emerges from water, goes to hospital, then jail

BEND, Ore. - A man wanted on a felony arrest warrant ran when Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies came to his southern Bend house early Tuesday evening, then dove into an irrigation canal to try to escape. But it didn’t work, as they tracked him downstream for a few minutes until he eventually got out, cold and wet, and was taken to the hospital, then to jail, deputies said.

Deputies went to a home in the 20100 block of Reed Lane around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday to serve a warrant on Robert Freeman James Robirts, 26, for failing to appear on original charges of unlawful use of a weapon, resisting arrest, harassment and strangulation, said sheriff’s Lt. Ty Rupert.

Arriving deputies saw Robirts standing in the backyard of his home and tried to contact him, but he began running north, toward a nearby irrigation canal, Rupert said. Deputies pursued Roberts on foot, until he dove into the canal.

Deputies followed Robirts downstream along the canal bank for about five minutes, until he swam to the north side of the canal near Southwest Garfield Avenue. He was taken into custody without further incident by a waiting sheriff’s sergeant, along with a Bend Police officer and his K-9 partner, Rupert said.

Robirts was extremely cold, due to the frigid water, and was evaluated by Bend Fire medics at the scene, then taken by deputies to St. Charles Bend for further evaluation, the lieutenant said.

Robirts was booked into the county jail early Wednesday afternoon on the initial warrant and new charges including third-degree escape and second-degree criminal trespass. He was held on $28,500 bail.

Rupert said the sheriff’s office wanted to thank the citizens who assisted deputies during the incident.

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