Deputies at the Pasco County Sheriff's Office went from chasing a suspect to performing life saving techniques on him, in a matter of seconds.

  • Man initiates car chase, exits vehicle and falls into a canal
  • Deputies rescued Jeral Bornstein, 40
  • He reportedly thanked the deputies for saving his life

Jeral Bornstein, 40, was in the midst of being pulled over early Thursday when he decided to run. Deputies said they suspected him in a retail theft case, which prompted the traffic stop.  

The car chase started on U.S. 19 and State Road 52 southbound and ended at Westport Drive and Seabreeze Drive when Bornstein exited the vehicle and fled on foot.

"The driver of the vehicle proceeded to jump out of the car while it was still in drive," said Corporal Brett Morris, hours after the incident. "He went through a wood line and on the other side of the wood line was a canal.”

Bornstein jumped into the canal and began struggling to swim, the sheriff's office said.


The two deputies who had been chasing him just seconds prior immediately went into rescue mode, pulling Bornstein out of the water and performing CPR.

“By the time I got over to him he was pretty much dead weight," said Deputy John Riyad. "He was already unconscious.”

The deputies hooked Bornstein up to an AED machine while they waited on medical help to arrive.

He was taken to the hospital, where he told authorities he fled because he didn't have a driver's license.

“It was a good feeling to see him come back," added Deputy Riyad, "and he was very grateful when we were at the hospital. He thanked us for saving his life.”