Man drives Humvee into Columbia to clean tires, nearly drowns

Man drives Humvee into Columbia to clean tires, nearly drowns

QUINCY, Wash. (AP) - Authorities in Grant County say a 48-year-old Woodinville man nearly drowned after he deliberately drove his Humvee into the Columbia River near Quincy.

Undersheriff John Turley says Merle C. Sorenson told deputies he "was not thinking" and drove into the water at a boat launch to see how far the vehicle could go and still back out.

Turley says Sorenson - who admitted drinking six beers - also said he wanted to "clean his tires."

The Humvee went into the water about 11:30 p.m. Thursday. Four people escaped the floating vehicle, but Sorenson was trapped with only his head above water.

Rescuers attached a tow truck line and moved the vehicle far enough out of the water to save Sorenson before it sank farther.

Sorenson was treated at Quincy Valley Hospital for mild hypothermia and later released.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)