A man who drowned in the Parker River in Newbury Thursday night ran from police trying to serve a warrant on him on January 3, but had not been seen since.

First responders were called to the area of Forest and River streets around 6:40 p.m. Thursday night for a report of a man trapped in the rushing waters of the river, according to Newbury Police Chief Patricia Fisher. A bystander unsuccessfully tried to help the man out.

A large response that included the Massachusetts State Police Air Wing and the Beverly Fire Dive/Rescue Team recovered the body of David Harwood, 54, of Byfield late Thursday night, according to Fisher and Essex County District Attorney Paul F. Tucker.

Harwood fled his home on Forest Street in Byfield when Newbury police and mutual aid partners from the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council attempted to serve an arrest warrant. He had no contact with police since. His home was condemned by Newbury Inspectional Services because of its poor condition.

Chief: We did not know who was being rescued

Fisher said police were not aware the person in the river was Harwood, as positive identification was not made until early Friday morning. She said the criminal investigation is closed, but did not disclose details of the warrant.

The department was aware Harwood had gone to another town, and police there were notified, according to Fisher.

The drowning was one of two water rescues in the area Thursday night.

A man was pulled out of a car that fell off a bridge on Hilldale Road in South Hampton, which crosses the Powwow River. Because of recent rains and high water, the swift current swept the vehicle under the bridge, according to South Hampton Police Chief Robert Roy.

First responders and passing drivers worked to get the man out of his car, but he later died at Exeter Hospital. Roy did not disclose the man's identity.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via X (Twitter) @DanAlexanderNH

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