Deputy, trooper jump in Hillsborough River to arrest fleeing suspect

Image 1 of 4

Deputies arrest man who jumped into Hillsborough River after car crash

Deputies arrested a man who tried to flee the scene of a car crash by jumping into the Hillsborough River.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said a detective in an unmarked car was rear ended by a gray Ford Mustang while he was stopped at a traffic light on Bruce B Downs Blvd around 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The detective told the driver, identified as 43-year-old Jack Knapper, to pull over after the crash. Instead, the sheriff's office said the suspect fled the scene.

A witness who saw the crash called HCSO and followed the fleeing Mustang to I-75, just north of the Fletcher Avenue exit.

That's where the witness said Knapper got out of the car and ran into a heavily wooded area before jumping into the river.

Once the sheriff's office's aviation unit located Knapper in the water, a deputy and an FHP trooper jumped into the river to arrest him.

"We couldn't have asked for a better outcome in this case. Our HCSO deputies and FHP troopers worked together seamlessly to take a dangerous driver off of the road and take him into custody without anyone getting hurt," Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement.

Knapper was charged with leaving the scene of a crash, fleeing to elude, driving without a valid license and resisting arrest without violence.

Investigators said he could face a possible DUI charge as well.

Knapper was taken to Tampa General Hospital to get checked for exhaustion, the sheriff's office said.