Police identify jumping fugitive

Man leaped off bridge in failed attempt to elude arrest

Police have identified the man who jumped off the Victoria Street Bridge to avoid arrest last month.

Trail’s Sheldon Matteucci is facing charges of break and enter, two counts of disobeying lawful order and obstructing a peace officer in relation to a series of events that took place June 22.

The 31-year-old allegedly broke into a Trail home all while breaking two peace bonds in the wee hours that day.

On a separate note, the RCMP were notified by hospital staff that a Daly Pavilion patient was off hospital property and concerns for her safety resulted in a search.

“We were looking for someone who was at risk of harm and then we came across him, who we knew was arrestable,” said Cpl. Dave Johnson, adding that the suspect then jumped off the bridge.

“When we were dealing with him on the shore, I had people on the eastern shore waiving their arms and pointing to a head that was bobbing down the water,” he said.

A local citizen in his boat managed to grab ahold of the patient, spotted in the river, until two fisherman assisted with pulling her out of the water to safety.

“Anyone who jumps into the river this time of year, that’s a very dangerous situation for us and the rescue people involved,” said Johnson.

“You don’t have to look very far, I mean locally, we’ve already lost a search and rescue member,” he added.

Johnson is referring to 29-year-old Sheilah Sweatman, a Ymir resident who died June 29 when attempting to recover a car in the middle of the Goat River in Creston.

This marks the first time in B.C. Search and Rescue (SAR) history that one of the province’s SAR volunteers was killed on the job.

Police have stepped up their presence for the summer months, with officers on foot patrol downtown. Though there is no video camera on the bridge, Johnson said that unfortunately he doesn’t think visible surveillance would deter a jumper.

“It’s just unavoidable, really. It is a dramatic thing but that bridge is going to be there and the river is going to be there,” he said. “I don’t think it will deter anyone who gets to that space, someone who does that is in a pretty desperate situation whether they’re fleeing from police or have serious thoughts of self-harm.”

City cameras are used to protect assets, in terms of vandalism, and for public safety measures. The bridge is not considered an ideal “hot spot,” according to city administrator David Perehudoff.

Matteucci remains in custody and is set to appear in court Aug. 11.

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