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Charges filed against dad accused of driving off cliff with toddler daughters

Posted at 6:31 PM, Jun 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-19 21:31:16-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Attempted murder, kidnapping, child abuse, child abduction, criminal threats and burglary charges have been filed against a man accused of intentionally driving a pickup truck off Sunset Cliffs and into the ocean with his twin toddler daughters inside, the San Diego County District Attorney's Office announced Friday.

Robert Brians is being held without bail on suspicion of driving into the water last Saturday morning with his 2-year-old daughters inside the truck. The girls were hospitalized in stable condition, according to a GoFundMe page created to raise money for their medical bills.

Brians, 47, is slated to be arraigned Monday afternoon via video conference at the San Diego Central Courthouse on the 13-count complaint.

RELATED: Police: Man drives off Sunset Cliffs with twin daughters in truck

About 4:30 a.m. last Saturday, the toddlers' mother called 911 to report that Brians had taken their children without permission and allegedly contacted her via "numerous calls and texts ... clearly stating she may not see (them) again," according to the page created Sunday.

He allegedly threatened to drive the vehicle off the Coronado Bay Bridge, but was later spotted by officers on Hill Street near Cornish Drive and sped off, careening over the side of a cliff and landing upside down in the water, according to police.

RELATED: Fundraiser to help toddlers involved in Sunset Cliffs crash

Moments later, a canine officer also responding to the emergency, 22- year SDPD veteran Jonathan Wiese, arrived in the area. Reaching the scene of the crash and seeing Brians' pickup upside down in the water, Wiese grabbed a long leash he uses for his service dog, wrapped it around his chest, gave the other end to fellow officers and rappelled down the precipice.

Wiese then swam out to the foundering truck and rescued the children and Brians. Medics took all three to hospitals for treatment of injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

RELATED: Officer rescues toddlers after father drives off Sunset Cliffs

The GoFundMe page has raised over $15,000 since its creation.