Long Key (CBS4) – A Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy plunged into the ocean off Long Key Saturday night to stop a man who allegedly said he wanted to drown himself.
According to the sheriff’s officer Deputy Nicholis Whiteman was sent to Long Key State Park around 11:30 p.m. to check on a report that a man may have overdosed on hallucinogenic mushrooms. When he arrived, paramedics were on the scene with two men. As Whiteman pulled up, one of the men, 21-year old Daniel Yepez of Miami, ran away. The other man then quickly followed.
Whiteman followed them to the beach where Yepez reportedly began talking about hurting himself. According to the sheriff’s office, Yepez then ran into the water with his friend going after him. Yepez then allegedly said he was going to drown himself and went under water.
Whiteman dropped his gun belt on the beach and dove in after Yepez who struggled violently with the deputy in the water. At one point, Yepez reportedly gave Whiteman a vicious blow to the eye with his elbow. Whiteman was able to hold Yepez in a bear hug, his head above water, until paramedics arrived.
Yepez was finally handcuffed and removed from the water. His friends told deputies he’d ingested mushrooms earlier and had begun acting strangely, talking about death.
Yepez was transported to Fishermen’s Hospital and was then booked into jail for resisting arrest with violence, possessing marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia.
When he was released from the hospital, the sheriff’s office said Yepez thanked Whiteman for saving his life.