Georgia man fleeing police jumps into pond containing alligators

SAVANNAH, Ga. — This was not a good plan of escape.

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A Georgia man ran away from deputies last week -- and straight into a pond inhabited by alligators, authorities said.

Billy Sloan, 29, is charged with auto theft by receiving stolen property, burglary, four counts of trespass, drug possession and obstruction by fleeing, WSB-TV reported. He is also lucky to be alive, as he leaped into the pond and attracted the interest of a pair of alligators.

According to a news release from the Chatham County Police Department, a car that had been reported stolen from Savannah was spotted near Interstate 95 at about 10:30 a.m. EDT on July 1. The driver, later identified as Sloan, drove away when a Georgia State Police trooper attempted to pull him over.

The chase ended in a community near the Al Henderson Golf Course in Savannah, WTOC-TV reported. Police said Sloan left his vehicle and went into several homes while attempting to elude officers. He eventually ran onto the golf course, where he was spotted by officers, according to the television station.

Ignoring officers’ orders to stop, Sloan jumped into the pond and swam to the middle of it, only to notice that he was not alone.

“Officers on the scene quickly noticed two alligators in the pond, including one that began swimming straight for the suspect and started circling him,” the Chatham Police Department said in its news release.

Officers used several methods, including a helicopter that hovered over the water, to scare the alligators, the police department said. The gators finally swam away and police tossed Sloan a life jacket, but he refused to take it and swim to the shore.

The police department deployed its amphibious vehicle in an attempt to fish Sloan out of the water, WJCL-TV reported.

“He was making statements that were clear that he had no intention of being taken into custody,” Chatham County Police Department Lt. Gene Harley said.

After failing for an hour to persuade Sloan to surrender, Chatham County Police Department Officer Joseph Lohr and Marine Patrol Officer Heath Wynn jumped into the water and reeled Sloan onto the boat.

A golfer nearby witnessed the chase and water rescue, WTOC reported.

“A bunch of police flew by us and came and drove on the fairway, so that was a little shocking, Jacob Howell told the television station. “He jumped into the pond and then they did their best to negotiate with him to get him out, and the helicopter came in, and we saw them take off with the drone. And then he just paddled around for the next 45 minutes or so.”

Sloan was taken to an area hospital to be examined before being cleared and taken to the Chatham County Detention Center, WSB reported. Neither Sloan, the officers or the alligators were harmed, WJCL reported.