Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Big Bear Lake, CA: Man 'drives car into California lake, killing his girlfriend and pet dog'

A 56-year-old man allegedly killed his girlfriend and their pet dog when he drove his car into a California lake, fleeing as the lay inside.

Ronald Michael Hitchcock was arrested on a murder charge after officers found him, soaking wet, yelling and trying to get through a locked gate at Meadow Park.

They believe he murdered his 53-year-old girlfriend Deborah Crouch, as well as their dog.

Police had been called by a concerned neighbour who heard Hitchcock's racket at around 6am on Saturday morning.

He had apparently recently driven his car into Big Bear lake and left it there, not far from where the couple lived together.

'He was kind of shivering because it was cold, and he was wet, and looked like he'd been drinking, woozy from drinky drinky,' one neighbour named Margaret Mathe told ABC.

Officers found Hitchcock at the gate whereupon he told them his car had gone into Big Bear Lake, for reasons unknown to him.

Two deputies, who are part of the Sheriff's Dive Team, went into the water and found the submerged car, with the bodies of his 53-year-old girlfriend Deborah Crouch and a dog.

Both were pronounced dead at the scene and Hitchcock was charged with murder.

He is being held in county jail without bail and scheduled to be arraigned at 12.30pm on Tuesday September 18.

According to the San Bernardino Sun Hitchcock had previously been arrested on July 9 on suspicion of battery on a spouse.

That charge was later dropped and he was convicted of disturbing the peace.

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