November 20, 2013

Man surrenders after lengthy search of Saco River

After turning himself in to police, the 25-year-old is charged with refusing to submit to arrest.

By Gillian Graham
Staff Writer

A man who jumped into the Saco River during a chase early Wednesday morning in Biddeford turned himself in after police spent hours searching for him.

Christopher Van Der Zee, 25, of Hollis was charged with refusing to submit to arrest after he turned himself in to police around 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Van Der Zee had run from a police officer during a traffic stop and climbed over a fence before jumping into the Saco River behind a row of houses on Pine Street shortly after 2 a.m.

Officer Corey Dussault was parked at a restaurant on Elm Street, speaking with a Saco police officer, when they heard tires squealing and an engine racing. Dussault saw smoke coming from Pine Street and found a GMC pickup truck going onto the sidewalk, according to his report on the incident.

As Dussault turned on his blue lights to stop the truck, the driver, later identified as Van Der Zee, got out, climbed over a fence and fell onto a pile of bicycles. As Dussault gave chase, Van Der Zee jumped into the river and disappeared around a turn in the river behind 9 Pine St.

Dussault said in his report that the water behind 9 Pine St. was over Van Der Zee’s head and the water depth “increases severely.”

The Biddeford and Saco fire departments were called to search the river for more than an hour and a half. State police assisted with a search dog, but Van Der Zee’s scent could not be tracked because he had been in the river and because of the presence of first responders.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

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