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Man arrested for walking down bike path with shopping cart on fire

Police arrested a man for reckless burning, possession of meth, and interfering with police.

Posted: Dec. 23, 2017 12:05 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - A man was arrested after walking down a bike path with a shopping cart that was on fire, according to police.

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Springfield Police said they received a call at 10:17 p.m. Friday of a man pushing a shopping cart that was fully engulfed in flames down the West D bike path.

When officers arrived, they said they found the flames were 12 feet high, catching tree limbs above on fire.

They said when Douglas Brian Bennett, 52, saw police, he fled and jumped into the Willamette River. SPD requested assistance from Eugene Springfield Fire Department and their rescue boat.

Officials said they paralleled Bennett on both sides of the river, but started losing visual contact of him as he struggled to keep his head above the water. Police said he was in the water for 17 minutes.

They were able to take him into custody when he got to the south end of the river. He was taken to the hospital for symptoms of hypothermia. After his body temperature was restored, he was lodged into the Lane County Jail on charges of reckless burning, possession of meth, and interfering with police.

Investigators said when Bennett was questioned about the fire, he said, "I guess I was just a little too high."

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