BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A Bakersfield man is dead following a high speed pursuit that ended when he sent his car careening over the side of the Kern River Canyon.
The Bakersfield Police Department says the incident began last night with a domestic dispute.
The suspect had reportedly been drinking and threatening the mother of his children. She opted to leave the home, but when she returned in the morning the fighting continued.
The woman reportedly went to a nearby gas station to call police around 11:15 this morning and the man followed. Police said he drove by the gas station several times yelling at the woman and finally telling officers to “follow me up the canyon."
Authorities said the man was drunk at the time and they decided to give chase, but stopped when he entered the canyon on Highway 178 and decided to follow the man at a safe distance.
According to officers, they witnessed the man swerve to the left twice before he finally sent his car over the side and down and embankment to the rocks below. He died at the scene.
The Kern River Canyon was closed while rescue crews with the Kern County Fire Department and National Forrest Service worked to pull the man’s body from the wreckage.
Traffic was allowed through intermittently while the vehicle was pulled from the banks of the Kern River.
The coroner has yet to release the man’s identity, but police said he was a resident of northeast Bakersfield.