Authorities say an intoxicated homeless man stole a fully restored antique automobile over the weekend and crashed it into an Oregon river.
According to Oregon State Police spokesman Gregg Hastings, troopers in Crook County were dispatched to the scene of a motor vehicle accident south of Prineville at about 3:00 p.m., Sunday. Prineville is a small city located about 150 miles southeast of Portland.
Upon arrival at the scene, the troopers found a 1930 Ford Model A coupe halfway submerged in Crooked River, a 125-mile-long tributary of the Deschutes River.
"Responding Crook County Fire & Rescue paramedics located a male near the scene who was identified by witnesses having swum from the ... Model A to the shore," Hastings said in a press release.
The man who allegedly swam from the vehicle has been identified by police as Erik Blake Halpin, a 34-year-old transient. Halpin was transported by air ambulance to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, where he was treated for minor injuries, police said.
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A subsequent investigation by state police revealed the Model A, which police say was fully remodeled, had been reported stolen to the Prineville Police Department.
According to KTVZ News, the car was stolen from the Church of Christ in Prineville Sunday morning, while driver, Jack Groves, 79, was having lunch.
Groves, the news station reported, restored the vehicle for the Waetjen family, who has owned the Model A since it was built in 1930.
"It's sad that all of the time and effort that [Groves] put into it is down the drain," Kelsea Luebbers, co-owner of the vehicle, told KTVZ.
Following Halpin's release from the hospital, he was taken into police custody for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, driving under the influence of intoxicants, criminal mischief in the first degree and failure to perform the duties of a driver involved in an accident.
Halpin was booked into the Crook County Jail, before being released due to overcrowding.
"Just the fact that this puke is back out on the street would be the most frustrating thing about this," Luebbers said.