Florida chase ends with car in pond, 2 children rescued

State / Regional

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A drug suspect is accused of putting two children in harm’s way when he fled deputies in Pasco County on Thursday and crashed into a pond, authorities said.

According to an affidavit, the incident began around 3:15 p.m. Thursday on U.S. Highway 19.

The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said a deputy had tried to stop the vehicle over a window tint violation, but it sped away and went into a nearby mobile home park with the deputy in pursuit.

After driving past several people walking their dogs, the driver, identified as Jonathan Mark DeLoach, 30, lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a pond.

The sheriff’s office released video of the incident Friday morning. A woman can be seen getting out of the vehicle and crying for help. Deputies said two children were in the car crying, scared and saying they couldn’t swim.

Deputies said officers and bystanders rushed to the pond and pulled the woman and children to safety. The man was removed from the driver’s seat. No injuries were reported.

“They [the children] were shivering from the water and continued to cry and appeared to be suffering from the traumatic mental injury,” the report stated.

Jonathan DeLoach. (Photos: Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, WFLA)

The sheriff’s office said a bag of crystal meth was found floating near the car. DeLoach, a known drug dealer, had several warrants out for his arrest, according to the affidavit.

DeLoach was arrested on several charges, including child abuse, possession of methamphetamine, driving with a suspended licens (habitual offender), fleeing to elude and reckless driving.

He was being held at the Land O’ Lakes Detention Center.


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