Columbia police officers rescue shoplifter from drainage ditch

nophillips@thestate.comJanuary 27, 2014 

Two Columbia police officers rescued an alleged shoplifter who was running from them and was overcome by frigid water while hiding in a culvert.

The suspect on Saturday afternoon allegedly had stolen $91 worth of hygiene products from the Walmart on Bush River Road. Officers began chasing him at the store’s entrance. The suspect was tossing merchandise as he ran, according to an incident report from the Columbia Police Department.

The suspect ran about 50 yards and then jumped into a drainage ditch and ran into a culvert that had about two feet of standing water in it, said Jennifer Timmons, a police department spokeswoman. Officers tried to taze the suspect but could not hit him.

As officers pursued the suspect into the frigid water, they realized he was down and going underneath the water, Timmons said.

The officers, Matthew Baskins and Kyle Kent, carried the man out.

The suspect, 36-year-old Tyson Snell, was charged with shoplifting, failure to stop on police command and resisting arrest. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia, Timmons said.

One of the officers was taken to the hospital, she said, where he was treated and released.

Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307

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