AUGUSTA — Police on Friday continued to hunt for the driver of a Jeep that fled from a traffic stop and landed upside-down and submerged Thursday night in Bond Brook.

Augusta police Lt. Christopher Massey said investigators are confident that no one was hurt in the crash, but they have not determined who was driving.

“There are a couple of people of interest,” Massey said.

The 1990s Jeep Cherokee is registered to a Chelsea resident, Massey said. The Jeep was not reported stolen, but police don’t think the owner was driving when it raced away from officers Thursday evening.

“We have identified the owner of the vehicle and we’re speaking with them as part of the investigation,” Massey said.

Augusta police tried to stop the Jeep because of a defective tail light at 8:18 p.m. Thursday on Mount Vernon Avenue. Instead of stopping, the driver sped off behind College Carry-Out, Massey said.

Officers began searching the baseball fields behind the store and behind Augusta Florist and located tire tracks going into the stream.

They found the vehicle on its roof in Bond Brook with only the tires sticking out, Massey said.

“There were no signs anyone had gotten out, and they were concerned people might still be in there,” he said.

Two rescue swimmers searched the stream but couldn’t determine whether anyone was inside the Jeep. The flow of water prevented responders from opening the windows or doors, Massey said.

He said police officers and Augusta Fire Rescue, which also was called to the scene, believed whoever was driving might be trapped inside the overturned Jeep.

KDT Towing & Repair Inc. was called to lift the car out of the water, and no one was found inside, Massey said. Emergency workers were at the site for about two hours.

“When we found the vehicle upside down in the river, there was no evidence that people had gotten out,” he said. “It immediately became a rescue. Everything else took a back seat.”

The Jeep, which has been impounded, probably is destroyed, Massey said.

Police asked that anyone with information about who was driving call officer Adam Moody at 626-2370.

Staff Writer Betty Adams contributed to this report.


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