EL DORADO COUNTY, CA (KTRK) --A police chase in California's Sierra Mountains turned into a rescue mission after two fugitives trying to escape the law nearly died in freezing conditions.
The duo were hiding in a wooded area when they had no choice but to call 911, local station KCRA reports.
It all started with a traffic stop for swerving, but then the two men jumped out of the car and took off running. The men were both fugitives. Derrick Dionno, 32, had four active warrants, and Triston Crossland, 30, was a parolee.
Authorities say they found a gun and drugs in their car.
Chris Stoots, of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said, "In addition to the firearm, there were at least three different types of controlled narcotics in the vehicle -- methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana."
The men ran into a canyon and crossed over a river. Wet and cold, they ignored law enforcement warnings to surrender with a winter storm in full force.
By nightfall, the fugitives were freezing and called 911, begging to be arrested. Search and rescue teams from the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office quickly joined the hunt.
El Dorado County Sheriff's Office Lt. Jim Byers said, "We knew based on the weather conditions there was a very high likelihood that they would not survive very long."
The two wanted men huddled together overnight to keep warm, and then on Saturday morning, the SWAT team found them. They were transported across the river to a waiting ambulance for treatment.
Byers said, "I have never seen two people happier to go to jail. Because they knew they were going to be dry and warm."
Both were treated at a hospital for hypothermia and frostbite and turned over to authorities for arrest.