Fugitive arrested in river after 200km pursuit
TWO men have appeared in court today charged over a 200km-long police pursuit through the Northern Rivers, which ended with their arrest in the river at Ballina early this morning.
David Bell, 37, of Queensland had been sought by Coffs Clarence police after an incident south of Coffs Harbour, on Sunday, December 11.
Police will allege on that day he left an RBT site on the Pacific Highway at Macksville, then pointed a firearm at pursuing officers.
Despite extensive searches, the man escaped after running into bushland at Valla about 35km south of Coffs Harbour.
Bell at the time had been wanted on interstate arrest warrants in Queensland and South Australia.
Video from the incident at Valla that allegedly saw a gun pointed at police officers during a pursuit earlier this month.
Investigations continued into the whereabouts of the man when today shortly before 1am he was sighted at Woodburn, about 35km south of Ballina.
Police from Richmond Local Area Command attempted to stop his van, however, they will allege the man drove at high speed to Lismore via Wyrallah Road, then onto the Bruxner Highway before turning onto Wardell Road at Alstonville and continuing to Wardell, about 12km south of Ballina.
Another man was an occupant in that vehicle.
At the South Ballina ferry terminal the van was driven into the river and two men were seen swimming away.
The Queensland airwing, PolAir, joined local police in searching for the men, and about 2.15am officers in a boat arrested them.
The men, aged 37 and 24, were taken to Lismore Police Station.
Bell was charged with
. Attempt to discharge firearm with intent to resist arrest
. Use offensive weapon to prevent lawful apprehension
. Destroy/damage property
. Break, enter and steal
. Police pursuit - not stop - drive dangerously
. Drive while licence suspended
. Use false documents
. Receive stolen property, and
. Goods in custody.
The younger man has been charged with
. Resist or hinder police officer in execution of duty
. Resist officer in execution of duty
. Receive stolen property
. Goods in custody
Both men were refused bail and appeared in Lismore Bail court this morning.
Police said the van has been towed from the river and is being sent for forensic examination.