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Wet, Wild Chase Ends In Arrests
0410 Chase 1
Marcus Baldridge


Two suspects were taken into custody after a recent car chase turned into a foot pursuit and unexpected swim.

Police report the arrest of Bill Lee Norris, 20, and Marcus Wayne Baldridge, 19, out of San Joaquin County, booked on suspicion of evading arrest, auto theft and burglary.

Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department deputies Cosby and Vernon received a call around 8 a.m. Sunday morning, March 24 that there were two suspicious people in the Medallion Court area of Riverbank, trying vehicle doors to see if they were opened.

Then they received a call that diverted them from that area and as they proceeded in the other direction, they noticed a small white Chevy truck in a local fast food parking lot that matched the description of a truck that had been reported stolen.

The deputies ran the license plate of the truck and found that it in fact was the truck that was reported stolen. They attempted to make a traffic stop but the suspects fled the area in the vehicle, taking deputes on a chase. The car pursuit lasted for approximately six to seven miles, according to the police report, heading westbound onto River Road.

The chase ended at the south parking lot of the McHenry Recreation Area, at which point the suspects fled the vehicle and jumped into the Stanislaus River. They swam across the river and were headed towards Del Rio Country Club, said authorities.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department set up a perimeter and K9 units were also brought in to assist with taking the suspects into custody.

Though they made it safely across the river, Norris and Baldridge were apprehended along the river bank behind the Del Rio West River housing track. They were checked out by Oak Valley Ambulance crews due to their cold water swim across the river. Then they were taken into custody and booked into jail.

Authorities said the truck contained various items determined to be stolen property and said the suspects were possibly involved in three other burglaries. Some of the property was believed to have been taken in burglaries reported in nearby Escalon.

The two men arrested are expected to face further court action in the case.