A man drowned in a Duval Park pond after he fled Gainesville Police Department (GPD) officers who attempted a traffic stop early Thursday morning.
According to a GPD release, a GPD officer observed a red scooter near NE 25th Street and NE 6th Avenue at 12:05 a.m. After checking the scooter’s license plate through the Florida Crime Information Center, it showed the scooter’s registration expired in 2018 and later it was discovered that the scooter was stolen.
The officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop and, upon seeing the marked police vehicle, the suspect lost control of the scooter and fled on foot into a wooded area in the 2400 block of NE 6th Avenue.
The officer stayed with the scooter until assisting officers arrived at the scene. Once additional officers arrived, they started a search in the marsh area.
At around 12:15 a.m., officers located the driver in distress nearly 50 feet away in a pond. The officers called out to the driver to swim to the officers, but the driver was unable to remain above water and sank.
Multiple officers took off their equipment and entered the pond for a water rescue. One officer retrieved the submerged man and pulled other officers helped pull both the driver and rescuing officer to land.
The officers started life-saving measures until EMS personnel arrived and transported the driver to a local hospital. The driver was later pronounced dead.
The officer who swam out and retrieved the driver was treated and released on scene for minor injuries.