SPOKANE, Wash. - A water rescue at High Bridge Park ended with both the successful rescue -- and capture -- of Geiger escapee Michael Wheeler.
Wheeler, 38, was taken into custody after being pulled from the frigid water, bringing to an end a manhunt that began last weekend when he escaped from Geiger Corrections Center.
Officials said that Wheeler was at a home on Chestnut Wednesday afternoon that authorities had surveillance on. Wheeler left the house and started running for the river. He went into the river, with officers in pursuit, and made his way across.Geiger fugitive captured at High Bridge Park
Unfortunately for him, the other side of the river had a cliff face, and by the point he had made his way across the water both sides of the riverbank was lined with officers and K9s.
Police officers got some assistance from Mother Nature at this point. When officers ordered him out of the river, Wheeler, who had been in the frigid waters for some time, complied with their commands and got out. Once he came out of the river he was walked three-quarters of a mile up to a road, where he was put into an ambulance.
Authorities plan to take him to the hospital to be treated for hypothermia as well as injuries he received during his escape from Geiger last weekend.
He was last seen on Sunday in the kitchen area where he worked between 5:35 and 5:55 p.m. A search involving several law enforcement agencies was launched but failed to find him.
Acting on a tip, the Pacific Northwest Violent Offenders Task Force went to a home in the 800 block of South Adams looking for Wheeler Tuesday night. While Wheeler wasn't found at the home, another man, identified by police as Charles Fife, 38, was found.
After a brief standoff at the home Fife was taken into custody on charges of rendering criminal assistance, obstructing a peace officer and a Department of Corrections hold.
Meanwhile, as of 7:45 p.m. Wednesday no one has been arrested at the house on Chestnut where Wheeler was staying.
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