Ohio officer drowns while pursuing suspect

Officer Down: Probation Officer David Poling - [Gallipolis, Ohio]

Biographical Info

Age: 32


Cause of Death: Drowning

Additional Information:  Officer Poling had previously served with the Gallipolis Police Department and Gallia County Sheriff's Office. He is survived by his wife and two young children.

Incident Details: Officer Poling drowned in the Ohio River while chasing a suspect who had fled from a traffic stop initiated by the Gallipolis Police Department. As officers chased the suspect he jumped into the river and swam to Gallipolis Island.

Officer Poling went into the river after the suspect, but encountered problems approximately half way to the island. A city police officer and a state trooper attempted to rescue him but were unsuccessful.

The suspect was located on the island several hours later and taken into custody.

End of Watch: May 22, 2007

The Associated Press

GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — An officer died after he dived into the Ohio River to chase a fleeing suspect, authorities said Wednesday.

The officer's body was recovered from the river about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, Police Chief Clinton Patterson said. That was more than nine hours after he and another officer gave chase Tuesday afternoon.

The victim's name and which law enforcement agency he worked for were not released because his relatives had not been notified.

Two officers stopped a man on a city street for questioning at about 5 p.m. Tuesday, Patterson said.

The man, identified as Joseph Harris of Springfield, ran a few hundred yards before jumping into the river from a bank 10 to 15 feet above the water, Patterson said. It was not clear why Harris fled, he said.

The officers, hot in pursuit, apparently jumped into the river from the same location, Patterson said.

Witnesses said one of the officers went under water and did not resurface, according to Patterson. The other officer was pulled from the water by rescuers after trying in vain to save his friend.

The suspect, meanwhile, swam to Gallipolis Island, in the river about 150 feet from shore, and was arrested about two hours later by police who reached the island in boats, the chief said.

Harris was being held in the Gallia County jail. It was not immediately clear whether charges had been filed. A jailer said he did not yet have an attorney.



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