TAVARES, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Dramatic pictures show how a pursuit ended after Tavares police officer say 22-year-old Austin Winters shoved one of their officers before jumping into a pond.
The Lake County Sheriff's Officer helicopter captured video of Deputy James Simmons and his K-9 partner Ey,k as they were called in to track Winters down.
"When we went into the water to apprehend him, the arrestee went to fight. When I went to grab him, he grabbed Eyk by the collar down here... and began to pull him underneath the water," Simmons said. "I was frightened, scared for him. I wanted to do anything I could to protect him, so I did whatever I needed to do to distract him to make sure my dog was ok."
They sloshed around in the chest-high, murky, alligator-infested water.
"During that time, he was able to get a hold of my vest and pull me in and pull me under. We were about chest-deep in water."
Deputy Simmons and his K-9 partner did what they could to gain control of the situation.
"Eyk was able to grab him and apprehend him again and we were able to drag him to waist deep water, other deputies able to get in and help," he explained. "He still fought all the way up to the shoreline."
Sitting in jail, Winters showed us his battle wounds, denying the charges against him.
"I was not trying to drown the dog. The dog was trying to tear my arm off, and I was backing away," Winters said.
The Lake County Sheriff's Office says this video speaks for itself.