Suspect caught on camera swimming away from law enforcement in Smith Mountain Lake

Person was arrested after deputy chased him down with stranger's boat

By Taj Simmons - Reporter

BEDFORD CO., Va. - A suspect tried to escape an arrest warrant by jumping into the water, but it did not go well.

The video capturing Bedford County deputies arresting the suspect from a stranger's fishing boat in Smith Mountain Lake last month is on social media.

Deputy Brian Ellis flagged down the anglers, who were on the lake preparing for a college fishing tournament, and searched for the suspect from their boat.

"I told them, 'We're looking for a guy in a purple shirt who was last seen on the shoreline," Ellis said.

The suspect dove in the water after Ellis tried to serve a warrant at his home, which is adjacent to the lake. Ellis says he needed help to catch the suspect because it was too dangerous to swim after him due to the weight of his gear.

"I needed to make sure I stayed safe, which is why I didn't stick all of my gear over the side of the boat to get him," Ellis said. "I needed him to come to me because I can't put my life in danger and possibly drown if he pulls me in."

Ellis and the anglers have not talked since the arrest, but the deputy says their boat made a big difference in catching the suspect.

"It was crucial to us capturing him," Ellis said. "The suspect even told us after we captured him that ,'I figured y'all would have given up.' I said, 'No, we'll figure out a way to get you.'"

 

 

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