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California man dies after hurtling across river after chase

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Posted at 11:45 AM, Jan 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-22 14:45:57-05

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Authorities are investigating after a California man died after hurtling about 400 feet across a river in his car after being pursued by police.

David Callahan, 58, of Fresno hit an embankment of the San Joaquin River, launched into the air and landed on the opposite bank on Monday, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Matt Zulim told The Fresno Bee. Investigators estimate he was traveling at over 100 mph (161 kph) and did not try to stop before his silver Mercedes sedan launched over the river.

The street where police had last pursued Callahan dead ends into the river bluff. It is not clear if intentionally crossed the river or did not realize the river was there, Sgt. Bob Reynolds said.

The chase began at low speeds after police saw Callahan driving recklessly, Reynolds said. Callahan later sped up and police decided to stop pursuing him as he drove west away from city limits, Reynolds said.

Authorities were called to the crash along the river shortly afterward.

The California Highway Patrol has taken over the investigation.