SARASOTA (WWSB) - Deputies say an 18-year-old man wanted on outstanding warrants jumped into a lake to try to escape and ended up needing to be rescued.
Just after 11am on Friday, deputies responded to the intersection of Burnt Branch Circle and Greystone Lane in Sarasota on reports of suspicious activity. Once there, they tried to talk to Richard Garay of Nokomis as he was entering a van parked alongside the road, but deputies say Garay was evasive and wouldn’t give his name or let deputies see his ID.
Deputies called for backup and when backup arrived, that’s when they say Garay took off running and jumped into a nearby lake. The sheriff’s office launched their helicopter, which showed Garay in the middle of the lake, struggling to stay above the water. Deputies swam out and brought him back to shore, where he expelled the water he had ingested before being taken by ambulance to Sarasota Memorial Hospital.
At a later hospital interview, deputies say Garay told them that he couldn’t swim but wanted to avoid arrest on several outstanding warrants, including failure to appear for a burglary, failure to appear for having no driver’s license and leaving the scene of an accident, and failure to appear for grand theft.
“The safety of our citizens is a priority, regardless of circumstance,” said Sheriff Tom Knight. “These deputies acted quickly and selflessly to render aid to someone who has a complete disregard for law enforcement. Unfortunately incidents like this happen all too often but this is what we train for.”
Garay is charged with Obstruction Without Violence and Contempt of Court for his outstanding warrants. He remains in custody today at the Sarasota County Jail.