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Fla. man tries to elude deputies by driving into river and floating away

The driver bailed out of his pickup as it sank and was taken into custody after he made his way to shore


Dixie County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook

By Mark Price
The Charlotte Observer

DIXIE COUNTY, Fla. — A motorist leading a high-speed chase drove a truck into Florida’s Suwannee River and drifted away as pursuers watched from the shore, according to the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office.

The maneuver successfully ended the chase — but ultimately proved pickups aren’t built to float.

“The vehicle drifted downstream, got stuck on a branch, and began to sink,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

It happened Tuesday, April 25, as Deputy B. Stone was pursuing a man wanted in connection with a structure fire in the town of Suwannee, officials said. Suwannee is about 160 miles north of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The white Ford pickup got into the river via the Anderson Boat Ramp at Joe Henry Anderson Park, officials said.

Investigators did not reveal how far the truck floated, but photos show most of it eventually vanished below the surface, with only its tailgate and one corner of the roof visible.

The driver jumped out as it sank and “made his way to shore, where he was placed under arrest,” officials said. Investigators did not report he suffered injuries during the voyage.

He has been charged with: first degree arson; fleeing or attempting to elude; leaving the scene of a crash involving damage; dumping of litter; two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer; two counts of resisting an officer with violence; criminal mischief; discharging a firearm from a vehicle and possession of a fire bomb, officials said.

The investigation began at the driver’s home in Chiefland, where suspected explosive devices were discovered, the Chiefland Police Department reported on Facebook.

“There were objects found in the home. However they were dismantled by authorities and were not of calamitous nature,” police said.

Chiefland is in Levy County, about 35 miles northeast of Suwannee.

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