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Man who jumped in flooded S.D. river to flee authorities suspected to be dead

MITCHELL, S.D. - Local police announced this morning that they are searching for a man who jumped into the James River while fleeing from authorities overnight.

Mitchell Public Safety Chief Lyndon Overweg made the announcement this morning during a news conference. He declined to divulge the name of the man but said the man is white and about 35 years old.

"If he's in the water, it is not very optimistic at this time," Overweg said about whether the man was still alive.

The James River near Mitchell set a record-high flood crest of 25.46 feet just last week.

Overweg said police sought the man Monday night because the man was suspected in a hit-and-run. The man's vehicle reportedly crashed into an electrical transformer around 10:45 p.m.

At 10:58 p.m., after police found the man's damaged vehicle past some flood-related roadblocks near the river, the man reportedly got out of his vehicle and jumped into the south-flowing current.

Search crews looked for the man until 3 a.m., and then took a break before resuming the search early this morning.

The Daily Republic in Mitchell, S.D., is owned by Forum Communications Co.