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Driver jumps off bridge after I-695 crash

Man rescued from Patapsco River
Posted at 5:40 PM, Mar 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-09 18:01:43-05

Maryland State Police say other drivers here along the Outer Loop of the Baltimore Beltway Wednesday night could see it coming---a four-car collision that involved five more vehicles before it was over.

"Witnesses say that the driver was driving on the left shoulder,” said Sgt. DaVaughn Parker, “From the left shoulder, collided into three vehicles.  Then exiting his vehicle and jumping over the bridge on the eastbound side.  Then swimming to the westbound side."
    
Swimming in the shallow, murky waters of the Patapsco River.
    
In a matter of minutes, rescue crews arrived and learned this would require far more than your standard multi-car accident. 

"They were able to locate that individual by looking off the bridge down into the water about 20 feet down,” said Capt. Russ Davies of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, “We repositioned some equipment and extended a 35-foot ladder over the bridge, which some of our firefighters descended to assist in getting this individual out of the water."
    
That driver, later identified as 33-year-old Rene Ruiz of Elkridge, suffered only minor injuries after his death-defying leap, and for now, authorities can only speculate on why he would risk his life in such a manner.

"It was dark at that time of the night,” said Davies, “If somebody is not from the area or not familiar with that section of roadway, may not know that it was an elevated area.  It's unclear what the intention was or what they knew."
    
Or whether he even remembered it later.

"There's definitely alcohol that is a possible factor in his actions on that day," said Parker.
    
After placing the lives of several other motorists and their passengers at risk, at this point, investigators aren't getting caught up in his mindset at the time.

"I'm not sure what he was thinking, but something definitely had to be impairing his judgement to collide into three other vehicles and then jump off a bridge," added Parker.

Once doctors released the driver from the Shock Trauma Center, police arrested him on suspicion of drunk driving and took him into custody.
    
Charges are still pending.