ROCKBRIDGE — A Staunton man died Monday after fleeing from police and hiding in a culvert during a two-hour standoff in Rockbridge County.

The incident began Monday when law enforcement officers with the Skyline Drug Task Force attempted to locate and arrest a fugitive wanted on multiple felonies and misdemeanors out of three different jurisdictions. The investigation led to the Timber Ridge area of Rockbridge County.

Law enforcement and Rockbridge deputies located the fugitive, identified as Alberto Jose Cornejo-Alvarez, who fled on foot through Mill Creek before hiding in a culvert pipe which Mill Creek flows through.

Deputies believed that Cornejo-Alvarez was armed with a firearm. Cornejo-Alvarez refused to exit the pipe and was observed moving within the pipe during a two-hour standoff.

Once movement was no longer detected, deputies entered the culvert to rescue Cornejo-Alvarez from the cold water. Deputies removed Cornejo-Alvarez from the pipe and began life saving measures before transporting him to Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital in Lexington for medical treatment.

Cornejo-Alvarez, 38, was pronounced dead Monday around 9 p.m. at Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital. Authorities said Tuesday they think Cornejo-Alvarez’s death was related to hypothermia. A cause of death will be determined after an autopsy by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Roanoke.

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