NEW PORT RICHEY (FOX 13) - Pasco County deputies say they rescued a drowning, unresponsive man who jumped into a canal while fleeing from a traffic stop.
The pursuit of a shoplifting suspect in Port Richey turned into a life-saving effort Wednesday, after the suspect made a run for it, ended up in a canal and nearly drowned.
The ordeal began when Pasco County deputies attempted to stop a blue Jeep, the driver of which was believed to have been involved in a retail theft from a Walgreens.
According to investigators the driver, Jeral Bornstein, tried to ram one of the cruisers. He eventually stopped and attempted to run away.
"Within minutes these same deputies that were chasing him were the same deputies that were bringing him back to life after several minutes of heroic effort," Capt. JamesSteffenssaid Thursday afternoon.
The deputies' body cameras recorded the dramatic rescue that unfolded.
They first noticed Bornstein, 40, in a canal near Westport and Seabreeze Drives. In a matter of seconds, he can be heard gasping for help.
"We got to go in there!" one deputy shouted shortly before Deputy John Riyaz can be seen jumping into the water.
Riyaz and another deputy dragged Bornstein, who wasn't breathing, to shore.
"By the time I got over to him, he was pretty much dead weight," Riyaz said. "He was already unconscious and I got him over to the shore where the rest of the guys performed CPR on him."
One of the body cameras recorded the deputies doing chest compressions for several minutes before Bornstein starts breathing again.
"It was a relief," said Deputy Zachary Barr. "It's something I think we all start this job to do, is save lives and it seems like that was the primary goal when I got there."
Bornstein, who is facing a series of charges from this incident, has a criminal history that includes 10 previous arrests in Pasco County, mostly on minor charges.
Deputies said he was recovering in the hospital Thursday and thanked them for saving his life.