19-year-old’s body pulled from Holyoke canal after search for suspects

Dive team pulled the body from the water at around 8:45 A.M.

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts State Police, as well as members of the Holyoke police and fire departments, converged upon the Flats of Holyoke Friday morning, to search for a suspect who jumped into the canal.

According to Jim Leydon from the Hampden District Attorney’s office, Holyoke Police Officers were called to Cabot and Main Streets for a report of an assault and battery, around 5:00 a.m. Friday.

While interviewing the alleged victim, police discovered that the alleged suspect stole her vehicle, Leydon said. Officers issued a be-on-the-lookout for the vehicle, which was later spotted in the area of Appleton and Canal Streets.

As Holyoke Police attempted to pull the vehicle over, Leydon said the driver sped off. The police chase ended on North Canal Street, where the vehicle crashed.

holyoke-car-searchLeydon said the driver and the passenger got out of the vehicle and attempted to get away. He said the driver, a juvenile, was caught and arrested by Holyoke Police, but the passenger, 19-year-old Torres Hernandez of Holyoke, jumped into the canal and attempted to swim across.

Officers used water rescue disks to try and save Hernandez, but he eventually disappeared under the water, Leydon said. The Massachusetts State Police Dive Team later recovered his body from the water around 8:45 a.m. by using a stokes basket, the type of basket used in rescue and recovery missions.

Our 22News crew later saw an ambulance leaving the area, while a second ambulance remained behind on North Canal Street. A truck from the office of the state medical examiner arrived at around 9:40 a.m., and left a short time later.

Related: New drone video of Holyoke canal search

Earlier in the morning, officers could be seen examining a red van on the other side of the canal that had crashed into a curb. That vehicle was towed away. A Holyoke Police cruiser parked behind the van had sustained some damage.

North Canal Street was closed while the search was going on, but the roadway eventually re-opened to traffic.

The incident is still under investigation by the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Hampden DA’ Office, and the Holyoke Police Department. The Holyoke Fire Department and American Medical Response also assisted with the attempted rescue.

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