A potentially dangerous manhunt in a Florida swamp took a strange turn when deputies spotted a human stomach and mouth sticking out of the water, investigators say.
It proved to be their suspect — a 6-foot, 7-inch tall, 370-pound man — making a bad attempt at hiding underwater like a Navy SEAL.
He was rescued and arrested before encountering the alligators or venomous snakes that also like to submerge and hide in the swamp.
The pursuit began around 3:20 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 7, when deputies responded to a single-vehicle crash near Lakeland, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said in a Jan. 8 news release. Lakeland is about 35 miles northeast of Tampa.
“When the deputies arrived, they discovered (the car’s owner) had fled on foot from the crash,” the sheriff’s office said.
“(He) could be heard walking through the swampy woods. … Plus, he was using his cell phone to navigate and attempting to phone a friend, and the deputies could see the light from the phone.”
Deputies tracked the ruckus but lost sight of the 20-year-old man when things suddenly got quiet.
He was eventually found “almost completely submerged in the water with only his stomach and mouth visible,” officials said.
“It was noted that (his) eyes were dilated, blood shot, and watery. Granted, he just came out of the swamp, so his whole body was watery, but his breath also smelled of alcoholic beverage,” the sheriff’s office said.
The suspect was given two breath sample tests and charged with hit and run, DUI and resisting arrest, officials said.