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Man charged for driving Jeep into Cuyahoga River, prompting dive team search

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Posted at 11:40 AM, Mar 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-05 11:40:45-05

CLEVELAND — Authorities say a Cuyahoga Falls man is facing charges after he drove his Jeep into the Cuyahoga River and swam to shore, prompting a search by Cleveland Firefighters, Ohio Division of Natural Resources and the Coast Guard.

Ryan R. Kilpatrick, 43, has been charged with reckless operation, failure to control and a one-way violation, according to police.

Around 2 a.m. Monday, Kilpatrick was heading the wrong way down Elm Street when he drove across the grass, through a fence and plummeted into the river, authorities said.

Crews from the Cleveland Fire Department, ODNR and Coast Guard converged at the crash site to search for the man.

RELATED: Crews work to recover car that drove into Cuyahoga River

A witness said he saw the Jeep driving across the bridge in the Flats and then watched as the vehicle’s headlights went into the river near the Center Street Swing Bridge.

News 5 has obtained surveillance video from a nearby apartment building which shows the car careening off the boardwalk into the water.

An Instagram video shows the driver climb out of the water and ask two bystanders for a cigarette. The camera pans to the river to show the car partially submerged in the water.

A witness called 911, and when he looked back at the river, the car was already submerged.

Kilpatrick later returned to the to the scene and told police no one else was in the water. He filed a crash report around 14 hours later, authorities said.