CALERA, Ala. (WBRC) - Five Calera Police officers jumped in a near-freezing lake Sunday night to save a man considered a suspect.
Calera Police Chief David Hyche said it started around 11:30 p.m. as a suspicious person near a business.
Chief Hyche said Sgt. Jay Cardwell spotted two people near the Chick-Fil-A. The restaurant was closed when Cardwell drove into the parking lot and one of the two people took off running.
Officer Nick James was responding and chased one person. One person was detained.
James chased the second suspect to the Rolling Hills Campground where the 24-year-old man jumped into the lake and swam toward the middle. Officers yelled for the man to swim back to the shore, but Hyche said he swam out about 30-40 yards from the shore.
Sunday night it was around 35 degrees in Calera making the water very cold. Even so, Chief said the man told officers he’d rather drown than be taken in, and he started going under water.
Two more officers who had arrived at the scene - Cody Browning and Shayne Benton - removed their gear and jumped into the near-freezing water to save the man. The officers reached him and started to pull him to shore when they began to struggle to stay afloat and yelled for help.
Officers James, Grant Hogan and John McMinn then jumped into the cold water and were able to get all three back to the shore.
“Our entire on duty shift was now involved,’' Hyche said.
The officers and suspect were all suffering from hypothermia and the suspect was placed in a warm patrol car. The officers were also placed in heated cars and Calera Fire Rescue checked the officers and suspect. Thankfully, everyone is okay.
The suspect, Austin McCarthy, had numerous outstanding felony warrants and was charged with public intoxication, attempting to elude and resisting arrest.
The second individual who complied was released with no charges.
There was no evidence of damage or burglary found at Chick-Fil-A.