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December 04, 2006
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Cuffed teen escapes Va. police, drowns in river

The Associated Press

Occoquan, Va. - A 16-year-old boy in handcuffs escaped Saturday from a police car parked on a bridge, jumped over a concrete barrier, plunged into a river and drowned, cops said.

It was unclear why the boy jumped off Interstate 95 and into the Occoquan River about 60 feet below, Virginia State Police Sgt. Terry Licklider said. "We don't know if he was just trying to escape and didn't realize what he was trying to jump over."

Rodger Rodriguez, of Woodbridge, was pulled over at about 3:20 a.m., Licklider said. He was arrested for drunken driving and driving without a license.

An officer, following normal procedure, placed Rodriguez in the front passenger seat of the cruiser, Licklider said. The boy's hands were handcuffed behind his back, the seat belt was buckled and the doors were locked.

The officer then went to check on Rodriguez's car and realized he was missing when he looked up a few minutes later, Licklider said. The officer called rescuers after seeing the boy in the water.

His body was found five hours later. "He knew the river was there," said the boy's mother, Gloria Rodriguez.


Related Article:
Police see no sign of error by trooper in Va. teen's drowning
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