PORT RICHEY, Fla. - A car chase in Pasco County turned into a rescue after the driver crashed into a pond, leading to the rescue of two young children from the car.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said a deputy tried to get the suspect’s car to stop for a window tint violation Thursday, but the driver, 30-year-old Jonathan Deloach, kept going, turning off U.S. 19 in Port Richey.
Deputies said Deloach drove down San Marco Drive into the Ja-Mar mobile home park, but the road was a dead end. The driver lost control around a curve, crashing into the neighborhood’s pond.
Pasco County deputies responding for the pursuit switched gears to help as a passenger, a woman climbed out of the car along with two children.
Tahree Williams works in the neighborhood. Williams and several neighbors saw the action unfold right up until the car flew into the pond and began to sink.
“We're watching him get out the car. I see a girl get out the car, the mom, she gets out the car and then she goes and pulls her kids out the car,” said Williams. “After I see her pull a second kid out the car, I jump in the pond to go get the kids out the pond.”
Video from a neighbor shows Williams hurrying to help. He got the little boy to safety, and a little girl was also rescued. The two adults in car also got out of the car unharmed.
“They were scared. The boy, he couldn't swim, and he was just like in shock. And the little girl, I know she was just traumatized from it,” said Williams.
Deputies took Deloach into custody, arresting and charging him with child abuse, possession of methamphetamines, driving with a suspended license, fleeing to elude and reckless driving.
“Actually one of the deputies mentioned that when they were pulling the driver out of the vehicle, a bag that ended up containing meth was floating in the vicinity of the driver,” said Amanda Hunter, a spokesperson with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the arrest report, Deloach said tried to get away because he had three outstanding warrants for his arrest. For those watching the dramatic ending, Williams said he felt the children’s safety meant the most.
“Kids have a life to live too. They didn't make that choice to drive reckless from the police, and so they need to live their life too,” said Williams.
Deloach is in the Pasco County jail.