Man jumps in bayou to evade arrest, swims back to shore when he hears gator warnings

Photo courtesy St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office

ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. (WGNO) – A New Orleans man trying to evade authorities jumped into a bayou Thursday near Eden Isles, but thought twice and swam back to shore after deputies warned him that the bayou is full of alligators.

According to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, deputies tried to make a traffic stop just before 3 p.m. Thursday on a stolen vehicle on U.S. Highway 11. The vehicle sped off, prompting a police chase through a neighborhood that ended when the stolen vehicle crashed into a tree near Eden Isles.

The stolen Kia flipped on its side and caught fire. One of the people in the Kia was taken into custody after the crash, but the second person in the vehicle tried to evade arrest by jumping into a bayou.

When deputies told the suspect that the bayou is known for alligators, he swam back to shore and was arrested.

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Gerald Smith, 20, and Tyrin Hamilton, 19, both of New Orleans, were booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail on the following charges: illegal possession of stolen things, resisting an officer, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and aggravated flight from an officer.