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Man jumps into Lehigh during escape attempt

Published May 21. 2010 05:00PM

Boxer Joe Louis once said in a pre-fight interview to his opponent, "You can run but you can't hide."

The saying applied Wednesday to an Andreas man who was fleeing from about 15 police officers and Carbon County Sheriff's deputies.

Greg Wentz, 33, of Andreas, was originally slated to be taken into custody in Jim Thorpe by Lt. David Midas of the Sheriff's office on an arrest warrant.

But Wentz fled and jumped off a 40-foot cliff into the Lehigh River, said Midas. Then he attempted to hide in a wooded area, crouching next to a tree. He was spotted by another deputy, Jon Hill, and state troopers, and then placed under arrest.

Yesterday, Wentz was arraigned before District Judge Joseph Homanko of Weatherly on the outstanding arrest warrant from the Carbon County Domestic Relations Office. He was lodged in Carbon County Prison in lieu of $5,000 straight cash bail.

The incident involving Wentz fleeing unfolded at about 3:35 p.m. on Wednesday. Midas said in his affidavit that he was advised to serve a Domestic Relations warrant on Wentz at 76 Susquehanna St., Jim Thorpe.

Midas said when he and Hill went to serve the warrant, Wentz was standing at a vehicle outside that address. According to Midas, Wentz had "failed to comply with a judge's purge order, so the defendant had an outstanding arrest warrant to serve a 90 day period of incarceration."

The affidavit said when Wentz saw the deputies, he fled across Susquehanna Street. Midas gave chase, yelling "Sheriff's office. Stop. Sheriff's office. Stop."

He ran onto railroad tracks towards a cliff, then jumped off the cliff into the Lehigh River. Fishermen helped him from the water, then he kept running.

By now police officers from several communities joined the chase, including state police and officers from Lehighton, Mahoning Township, and Jim Thorpe.

The affidavit says:

"After approximately two hours of searching and yelling for the defendant to turn himself in, Deputy Jon Hill and PSP troopers spotted the defendant crouched by a tree attempting to conceal his person."

Wentz declined medical treatment. He allegedly giggled while being taken into custody and told police he gets an "Atta Boy" for his actions.

He also asked Midas why he didn't jump off the cliff and into the river after him.

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