Fire Personnel Have to Cut Hole in Water Tank to Rescue Domestic Violence Suspect

This is a press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:

Craig Phipps

Craig Phipps [Photo from the Sutherlin, Oregon Most Wanted page.]

On 08-08-2018 at approximately 1:50 P.M., Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to contact an adult female in regards to a domestic violence incident in Laytonville, California.Upon their arrival, the Deputies learned the adult female was involved in physical assault perpetrated by her boyfriend the night prior. The boyfriend was identified as Craig Phipps. Deputies learned Phipps attempted to suffocate and strangle the adult female numerous times during the incident. Deputies noticed the adult female had numerous injuries on her face, neck, and chest as a result of the incident.

The Deputies searched the Laytonville area for Phipps with negative results. The Deputies issued an order to arrest Phipps for 273.5(a) PC [Felony Domestic Violence Battery].

After handling another call in the same area, Deputies were driving in downtown Laytonville and saw a male subject who matched Phipps’ description.

One of the Deputies exited the patrol vehicle and asked the subject for his name. The subject identified himself as Phipps and immediately fled the area on foot. Phipps ran eastbound across Highway 101, continued onto Harmon Drive, through a creek bed, and into a wooded area east of Harmon Drive.

The Deputies lost sight of Phipps at that time and established a perimeter around the area of Harmon Drive and Laytonville Dos Rios Road.

Multiple officers from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and additional Deputies responded to assist with searching the area for Phipps. After approximately 3 hours, search efforts were discontinued due to low-light conditions.

One of the Deputies decided to remain in the area of Laytonville Dos Rios Road for multiple hours in case Phipps exited the wooded area. After approximately 4 additional hours, CHP officers and the Deputy heard a male subject yelling from the area where Phipps was last seen.

At approximately midnight on 08-09-18, Deputies and CHP officers began searching the wooded area where the male was heard yelling. After approximately 30 minutes, they were able to locate Phipps who was hiding inside a large water tank and treading water. Phipps told the Deputies and officers that he was in distress after treading water for multiple hours. Phipps stated he was exhausted and unable to swim any longer.

Fire department personnel were summoned to assist with rescuing Phipps from the 15 foot tall water tank. A Deputy began releasing water from the large tank, which allowed Phipps to stand inside the water tank while awaiting the arrival of fire personnel.

Fire personnel were able to cut a hole in the water tank to safely remove Phipps, who was taken into custody at that time for 273.5(a) PC [Felony Domestic Violence Battery] and 148(a)(1) PC [Resist / Delay / Obstruct Peace Officer].

Phipps was examined by medical personnel at the scene and transported to a local hospital for medical treatment.

Phipps was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000.00 bail.



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