NBC NEWS – Two men who attempted to flee from California police Friday needed to be rescued from the snow Saturday morning.
It began when authorities stopped a vehicle in El Dorado County Friday morning. The occupants, Triston Crossland, and Derrick Dionno, ran across a river and through the snow to escape.
The Sheriff's Office said deputies recovered a firearm dropped by one of the men and illegal drugs from the vehicle. Dionno had four active warrants out for his arrest.
A U.S. Forest Service officer saw the men hours later, but they again fled back into hiding.
Just before 8:45 p.m. Friday, Crossland called 911 to report he and Dionno were in fear of freezing to death, according to a press release.
"I believe their words were, 'We're going to freeze to death out here,'" Stoops told KCRA 3.
Deputies launched a search and rescue effort with assistance from El Dorado Sheriff's Office SWAT units.
"We knew based on the weather conditions there was a very high likelihood that they would not survive very long," said Lt. Jim Byers, of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities found the men at 9:17 a.m. Saturday. Both fugitives huddled together to stay warm and willingly gave themselves up.
"They would have died from hypothermia," Byers said.
Crossland and Dionno, suffered severe hypothermia and probable frostbite, the sheriff’s office said.
"I have never seen two people happier to go to jail," said Lieutenant Jim Byers of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office.
Both were treated at a hospital and turned over to authorities for arrest.
In a jailhouse interview Sunday, Dionno told KCRA 3 he was still cold, more than 24 hours after being in the elements.
Dionno claimed he was in the area to go "snowboarding" and denied having any drugs or a gun in his possession. He admitted that fleeing into the forest wasn't smart and said "he didn't think he was going to make it.
Dionno told KCRA 3 he ran because of concerns about his outstanding warrants.
Dionno and Crossland are facing multiple felony charges, including felons in possession, a felony in evasion of a peace officer, obstruction and numerous narcotics charges, officers said.
As for his rescue by law enforcement, Dionno said, "I appreciate them helping me, but I don't appreciate what they are saying about me."