Elkhart fire crews launched a rescue boat and search operation early Sunday to look for a teen who ran from police and into the St. Joe River near the Six Span Bridge.
Police say ten teens ran toward the river after officers showed up at a party in the area. Four teens were caught before they reached the water, and five others were found once they swam to the other side of the St. Joe. But when the tenth teen wasn't found, the rescue operation and fire boat was launched.
Elkhart Fire Battalion Chief Wes Johnson said, "(Our) concern was not all the young men were accounted for that we were looking for. They tried to flee. We had to make sure everybody was safe and out of the water." Johnson tells us the fire department dispatched 15 crew members to search for the teen. Thankfully, he was found safe on land nearby within the hour.
Firefighters say what the teens did was very dangerous at any time of day, but it's an especially bad idea to jump into the fast moving water at night. Battallion Chief Johnson also mentioned some of the other problems the teens could have faced, "Already this morning, there's boaters out here, by chance if they wouldn't see you. There's other obstacles out there. We don't want to see anybody drown."
There's still no word yet on what punishments, if any, the teens will face for running from police at the party, or for causing the need for a rescue operation.