Timofey Erofeeff was indicted on several charges Thursday after an attempted escape from police into the Columbia River, while his red Ford F-150 pickup was lifted out of the water by a crane at North Tongue Point.
Erofeeff, 27, from Scotts Mills in Marion County, was observed Wednesday morning trespassing on boats at North Tongue Point and was approached by officers Kevin Berry and Thomas Litwin of the Astoria Police Department.
In a court document, Berry described approaching Erofeeff’s pickup to arrest him after learning he also had a parole violation from Deschutes County.
“Erofeeff proceeded to take off at a high rate of speed straight away from me,” Berry said. “Erofeeff turned onto a dead-end pier and began accelerating. Erofeeff launched his vehicle off the end of the pier, into the Columbia River at a rate of speed I estimate to be about 45 mph.”
Erofeeff left his sinking vehicle and started swimming across a side channel of the Columbia toward an island about one-third of a mile away. He began to struggle, and the Coast Guard was called for a possible rescue. But he made it back to the pier, where he was thrown a life jacket and ring and eventually rescued by employees from nearby shipwright WCT Marine & Construction Inc.
He was taken by ambulance to Columbia Memorial Hospital for minor injuries and hypothermia.
“When I asked him why he took off in his vehicle, he told (me) he knew I was going to arrest him and he thought to himself, ‘I’m not getting arrested today,’” Berry said.
During a videoconference Thursday from Clatsop County Jail, Erofeeff was indicted by Deputy District Attorney Steven Chamberlin on one count of first-degree burglary, a Class A felony, for attempting to steal from the moored vessel The Zephyr, and another count of attempting to elude police with a vehicle, a Class C felony. He also faces misdemeanor charges of reckless driving, refusing to obey a police officer, third-degree escape, second-degree criminal trespassing and offensive littering for the truck, fluids and debris in the river.
“It was just a long, arduous process finding the truck,” Jeremy Milligan, a shipwright with WCT Marine, said of bringing in a diver to search underwater.
After locating the pickup, WTC Marine brought a crane out on the pier, hooked the truck to a tow hitch and lifted it onto the dock. The Coast Guard’s Incident Management Division oversaw the removal but ordered no ongoing cleanup. The truck was taken by Classic Towing to a yard in Miles Crossing.
Bail was set at $75,000 for Erofeeff. He is scheduled for an arraignment on the indictment early next month. Kris Kaino was appointed as his defense attorney.