FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – Witnesses and investigators are reacting with astonishment after a high-speed pursuit ended with a car launched clear across the San Joaquin River separating Fresno and Madera Counties.
Fresno County Coroner’s Office identified the driver as 58-year-old David Callahan of Fresno.
According to Fresno Police, before Callahan drove off the cliff, he was driving recklessly near Herndon and Parkway Drive around 8:30 a.m Monday.
“The vehicle was driving recklessly and actually drove past the officer,” said Sgt. Bob Reynolds.
Callahan led police on a chase and officers say he eventually drove off the cliff near Dickenson and Herndon. He was airborne for about 400 feet and crossed an entire of the San Joaquin River, and crashed onto the other side in Madera County.
“He went down to Barstow, hung a U-turn and hit the lip,” said witness Bryan Zollars.
“Like at a hundred miles per hour, he cleared the whole damn river.”
“This is just me eyeballing it, but from what it looks like, it looks like at some point the vehicle landed completely on its top,” said CHP Officer Matt Zulim.
The impact of the crash killed the driver at the scene.
Police said Callahan was in the car alone. The CHP’s investigation is ongoing.
“What may have been going through his mind to drive this fast?” said Zulim “And to do what he did in his car today.. He jumped the San Joaquin River. It’s an absolute tragedy. You never want to see someone die especially in this fashion.”