A Florida man swam through multiple canals while trying to evade authorities after allegedly punching his neighbor in the face during an argument, authorities said Tuesday.
Phillip McGraw allegedly entered his neighbor’s garage Sunday afternoon and “approached him aggressively” before punching him in the face, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said. Both men were on the street when McGraw’s stepfather, James Jones, pulled up to the victim’s home.
McGraw got in the passenger seat of Jones’ vehicle and they drove away. Sheriff’s deputies tried to initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle, but Jones fled, the sheriff’s office said. Jones then drove to McGraw’s home, and McGraw fled on foot towards the canal behind the residence, authorities said.
At some point, he allegedly jumped into a canal to avoid arrest.
“After swimming through multiple canals in an attempt to escape, McGraw was caught and arrested behind a residence on Crandell Court,” the sheriff’s office said.
Bodycam footage taken from deputies shows a canal with the deputies overheard trying to talk to McGraw from a distance.
“Hey, there’s people right there. There’s cops there and there,” a deputy is heard saying. “What are you doing?”
“Dude, what are you doing this for?” another deputy is heard asking.
During his arrest, one deputy is heard reminding McGraw of a similar encounter with him weeks earlier.
“Two, three weeks ago you ran from us,” he said. “Same two people… into your house when you had the warrant.”
McGraw was charged with burglary of a dwelling — occupied and unarmed, simple battery, petit theft, and resisting an officer without violence. He is being held on a $32,500 bond.
Jones was taken into custody on suspicion of resisting an officer without violence and was released after posting a $500 bond.
“You might try to run from a Deputy Sheriff, but you will only go to jail tired — in this case wet too — and with more charges,” said Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly. “Sad to see it was a family trip to jail before Thanksgiving, but at least they might be home together for the holidays.”