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Salt River Partier Helps Underage Drinker Escape Lawmen -- Ends Up Pepperballed, Tased and Arrested

An act of criminal chivalry on Saturday resulted in a deputy getting accidentally tased and in a riverboat chase that sounds more like a human safari.

The mayhem began at about 3:40 p.m. near the mud cliffs on the lower Salt River, when Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputy C. Bradshaw attempted to arrest a young woman for suspected underage drinking.

Walking next to his horse and escorting the girl, the mountie suddenly found his path blocked by 26-year-old Christopher Donaldson, who tried to talk to the girl. Bradshaw told him to leave. But Donaldson apparently figured he was the one who should be giving orders and demanded that the deputy move his horse. Bradshaw claims Donaldson pushed on the horse's neck, causing it to turn.

The girl broke free from Bradshaw and jumped into the river, shielded by Donaldson.


The suspect then cast himself into the river and floated downstream as Bradshaw called for backup. The deputy pointed out Donaldson to other law officers on the riverbank, and they called to Donaldson, asking him to surrender. The man kept floating.

Moments later, more deputies arrived in an airboat. Donaldson hid in some bushes on the river's north side as the deputies shouted orders to him. Losing patience, the deputies fired a pepperball gun at Donaldson. He swam to the middle of the river, presumably making it harder for the deputies to hit him with pepperballs.

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Deputies eventually managed to haul Donaldson out of the water and into the boat in what must have resembled a scene from TV's Swamp Wars.

Like a freshly caught marlin, Donaldson continued to writhe and struggle once in the boat, court records state. One deputy pulled out his Taser gun and fired it at the suspect -- but one of the probes hit another deputy, shocking both of the targets.

Following his arrest, Donaldson told deputies that he'd never met the girl before and regretted his action. Cops want him prosecuted for animal cruelty (for pushing the horse), escape and resisting arrest.

Deputies apparently never found the girl. 

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