Eureka Parolee Saved by El Dorado Sheriff: ‘You Will Never See Two Men so Happy to Go to a Warm, Dry Jail Cell”
Yesterday morning, El Dorado County Deputies, CHP, and US Forest Service Officers responded to Wright’s Lake Road and Hwy 50 to assist a California Fish and Wildlife Officer who had stopped a vehicle from which two occupants fled on foot. The two men ran down into the snowy canyon and crossed the river, eluding officers. During the foot chase, a firearm was dropped by one of the men and recovered by officers. A search of the vehicle the men had fled from uncovered illegal drugs, and identified the two men as 30 yr old Tristen Crossland, a parolee from Eureka, California, and 32 yr old Derek Dion, a probationer from Hayfork, California, who had 4 active warrants for his arrest.
Officers stayed in the area and the two men were spotted by a US Forest Service Officer a few hours later, but they fled back into the snowy canyon and across the river, again eluding capture. The officer yelled to the two men that they were in danger of freezing and to give up, but the two continued to flee into the forest after crossing the freezing river.
At 8:40 pm last night, Crossland called 911 and reported he and Dion were somewhere across the river and were freezing to death and in fear of dying.
El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office immediately launched a Search and Rescue effort to locate these two men. Due to the alleged crimes that had been committed by these men, this presented a unique challenge as civilian volunteers are not used to search for suspected dangerous criminals. As it was obvious this was a life and death situation, a combined Search Team consisting of El Dorado Sheriff’s SWAT, Dive Team, and Search and Rescue began an immediate search of the area.
In the dead of night, in freezing temperatures, in steep, rocky terrain, and in driving rain/snow, SWAT team members search nearly 7 miles of the canyon before finding the freezing men at 9:17 am this morning. Both men gratefully “gave up” as the SWAT Team approached them. The SWAT Team found both men suffering from severe hypothermia and probable frostbite.
While SWAT members searched for the men, Dive Team members and SAR personnel had been working in these same conditions through the night, securing a river crossing. Using this crossing, the team extricated the two suspects into a waiting ambulance. Both men were taken to a local hospital for treatment and turned over to Fish and Wildlife Officers for arrest and prosecution. This was an excellent team effort that resulted in not just the arrest of Crossland and Dion, but saved their lives as well.