Two men have been charged over a 200km-long police pursuit through the Northern Rivers region, which ended with their arrest in the river at Ballina on Saturday morning.
The 37-year-old man had been sought by police since an incident near Coffs Harbour on Sunday 11 December 2016.
Police will allege on that day the man left an RBT site on the Pacific Highway at Macksville, then pointed a firearm at pursuing officers. Despite extensive searches, the man escaped after running into bushland at Valla about 35km south of Coffs Harbour.
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Investigations continued into the whereabouts of the man when, shortly before 1am (AEDT) on New Year’s Eve, he was spotted at Woodburn, about 35km south of Ballina.
Police attempted to stop the man’s van; however, they will allege the man drove at high speed to Lismore via Wyrallah Road, then onto the Bruxner Highway before turning onto Wardell Road at Alstonville and continuing to Wardell, about 12km south of Ballina.
At the South Ballina ferry terminal the van was driven into the river and two men were seen swimming away.
The Queensland airwing, PolAir, joined local police in searching for the men, and about 2.15am officers in a boat arrested them.
The men, aged 37 and 24, were taken to Lismore Police Station.
The older man has now been charged with
o Attempt to discharge firearm with intent to resist arrest
o Use offensive weapon to prevent lawful apprehension
o Destroy/damage property
o Break, enter and steal
o Police pursuit – not stop – drive dangerously
o Drive while licence suspended
o Use false documents
o Receive stolen property, and
o Goods in custody.
The younger man has been charged with
o Resist or hinder police officer in execution of duty
o Resist officer in execution of duty
o Receive stolen property
o Goods in custody
Both men have been refused bail to appear in Lismore Bail court this morning.
The van has been towed from the river and is being sent for forensic examination.