Calif. Man Threatening to Kill Family Drives Off Cliff

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. --

A man was killed after driving his car off a cliff in the Kern River Canyon.

Bakersfield Police said on Sunday night, the driver and his wife got in an argument and the woman left her home. She told police when she returned on Monday morning, he husband was drunk.

"He was reportedly very intoxicated and an argument took place," said Mary DeGeare of Bakersfield Police Department. "During that time he threatened to kill her, the kids and fellow employees."

The woman went to a nearby Chevron gas station to call police. As the officers were speaking with the woman, they said her husband slowly drove past them and told them, “You better follow me into the canyon."

DeGeare said the officers had already established probable cause to arrest the man and followed him as he drove east on Highway 178 at about 70 mph on the highway.

As the officers followed the man, he called the police department communications center and told them that once in the canyon he was going to drive over the edge, DeGeare said.

"With that information, and because they're preparing to enter the canyon, a supervisor instructed the officers to discontinue the purist and follow at a safe speed," she said.

After they traveled eastward into the canyon, the man accelerated and swerved deliberately to the left and over the edge onto the canyon floor, killing him, DeGeare said.

"He went through two more curves in the roadway and then the officers said he just accelerated, pulled the steering wheel to the left and went over the side."

The man will be identified by the Kern County Coroner’s Office.

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