Man drowns after jumping into Thames River during police chase

Ledyard — Police said a Virginia man drowned Sunday after he evaded police during a car chase and then jumped into the Thames River.

Police said they attempted to make a traffic stop on a rented silver Buick LaCrosse bearing Virginia plates. The driver of the car, later identified as Jarmal Robinson, 24, of Norfolk, Va., accelerated and did not stop for the Ledyard police officer.

The car chase then continued from Route 12 in Ledyard to Route 2A westbound in Montville. The car drove at a high rate of speed exiting Route 2A at Exit 2. The car then ran through the  intersection, running a red light and crashing into a 2004 Honda Accord.

Police said Robinson fled the scene on foot. Troopers located Robinson attempting to flee police by jumping into the Thames River and swimming away from the officers.

Police said Robinson started to have problems and was unable to swim or keep himself afloat, leading to his drowning.

Troopers at the scene attempted to rescue Robinson, but he was beyond their reach — 30 feet away from shore, police said.

The United States Coast Guard along with a Norwich Fire Department boat and a Naval Submarine security boat attempted to locate Robinson. The Coast Guard was able to find Robinson, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

All five occupants in the Honda Accord were taken to the William W. Backus Hospital for minor injuries. Three occupants in the Buick refused medical treatment.

The accident, which happened around 12:58 a.m., remains under investigation.


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