The Bay County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of a man early this morning after he jumped into the waters off North Lagoon Avenue in an attempt to flee from deputies.
Shortly after midnight, a BCSO deputy on patrol pulled into the parking lot at 5709 N. Lagoon when he spotted a blue Chevy truck parked in such a way as to be concealed behind other vehicles. As the deputy approached the vehicles, he heard a door shut and saw a female enter the blue truck, and the truck was driven away quickly, heading south off of North Lagoon onto Thomas Drive.
The deputy followed the blue truck, turning on emergency lights but the truck did not stop, turning west onto Flint Avenue, then north onto Benbow Street and finally making its way east onto North Lagoon. The truck did not stop even though the deputy turned on his siren.
Finally the blue truck stopped at 6135 North Lagoon and a man exited the truck, running south toward the lagoon. The deputy pursued on foot, ordering the man to stop. At the end of a dock, the man jumped into the water and began to swim.
Additional BCSO deputies responded and officers with the Panama City Beach Police and a perimeter was established around the man. The BCSO was able to send a vessel to the scene. Bennett verbally refused to comply with orders by deputies for him to return to the dock. Sgt. Derek Groves jumped in and swam to Bennett and was able to take control of Bennett and get him to the vessel and into it.
The man was identified as John Wayne Bennett, a transient, age 41. He stated to deputies he was in the area fishing. Bennett did have four fishing poles in the back of his truck, but the line on the poles was not wet.
The female in the truck was not identified and was last seen running into the woods on the east side of Thomas Drive. The area was searched but she was not located.
It was learned that Bennett had two active felony warrants and his driver’s license was suspended. Bennett was placed under arrest for Fleeing and Eluding Law Enforcement, Loitering and Prowling, Knowingly Driving with License Suspended or Revoked, and two counts of Resisting an Officer without Violence.
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