Man drowns after driving into water while pursued by Fairbanks officers, police say

A man drowned early Wednesday after he drove into a gravel pit filled with water while being pursued by Fairbanks officers, police said.

Police tried to stop a Toyota Corolla near Airport Way and Market Street around 3:30 a.m. because an officer suspected the driver, 34-year-old Carl Ravenscroft, had been drinking or using drugs, the Fairbanks Police Department said in a statement Wednesday. Ravenscroft also had a warrant for his arrest on charges of eluding, criminal mischief and failure to stop for police.

Ravenscroft drove away when an officer tried to stop him, police said, and officers pursued him as he drove onto Peger Road before reaching a side road. At the end of the road, Ravenscroft drove into a steep gravel pit and his car was submerged in deep water, police said. He got out of the vehicle but went under the water’s surface as he tried to swim to the shore, according to police.

The Fairbanks Fire Department and University Fire Department tried to launch a boat into the pit to perform a water rescue, but police said the steep decline into the pit made it difficult.

First responders located Ravenscroft’s body around 9:45 a.m., police said. The medical examiner’s office will conduct an autopsy and toxicology screening. Police said the car will be recovered during the next week.