01/02/2008

Calif. suspect leaps off bridge with police dog

By The Associated Press

CORONADO, Calif. — A man being chased by authorities grabbed a police dog and leaped off a bridge, taking the animal with him into the cold San Diego Bay 200 feet below.

The dog died after the fall from the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, but the fugitive survived and was in serious condition Tuesday with a collapsed lung.

The 27-year-old man will be charged with causing the dog's death, driving under the influence and evading police, authorities said.

The pursuit began Monday evening after an Oceanside police officer saw the man driving a pickup erratically. The officer, accompanied by a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois named Stryker, ordered the driver to stop, but he refused, officials said.

The man led police on a chase on Interstate 5 and onto the bridge, where he stopped and the officer released the dog.

''The dog actually took the driver to the ground, and then he actually lifted the dog up and jumped over the side,'' said California Highway Patrol Sgt. Steven Toth.

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