Long Key – A deputy was injured Saturday night as he struggled to keep a Miami man from hurting himself.
Deputy Nicholis Whiteman responded to Long Key State Park at 11:30 p.m. to reports a man may have overdosed on hallucinogenic mushrooms. When he arrived, paramedics were on the scene with two men. As the deputy pulled up, one of the men – later identified as 21 year old Daniel Yepez of Miami – began running away; his friend ran after him attempting to catch him.
The deputy followed and the two men stopped on a nearby beach. Yepez began talking about hurting himself, then ran into the water with his friend going after him. Yepez then said he was going to drown himself and went under water.
Deputy Whiteman dropped his gun belt on the beach and went after Yepez to keep him from hurting himself. Yepez struggled violently with the deputy in the water, at one point hitting the deputy in the eye with his elbow. Deputy Whiteman held Yepez in a bear hug in the water, keeping his head above water, until paramedics arrived to assist him.
Yepez was finally handcuffed and removed from the water. His friends told deputies he’d ingested mushrooms earlier and had begun acting strangely, talking about death. A small amount of marijuana was found which Yepez said was his. Yepez was transported to Fishermen’s Hospital, and was then booked into jail for resisting arrest with violence, possessing marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia. When he was released from the hospital, Yepez thanked Deputy Whiteman for saving his life.
Deputy Whiteman was treated on the scene for a cut near his eye.