Man flees courtroom, drowns in river

Jan. 30, 2009 at 6:38 PM
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Jan. 30 (UPI) -- A man drowned in the New River in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after running from a courtroom Friday when a judge revoked his bond and ordered him to jail.

Police pulled the body of John Ross, 29, from the river hours after he jumped in as he tried to escape sheriff's deputies, The Miami Herald reported.

Ross had been free on bond, facing a charge of aggravated battery with a firearm. During his court appearance Friday, Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Imperato found Ross had violated his release conditions when he was arrested for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

Dorothy Springer, Ross's mother, said her son went to court expecting charges to be dismissed, and not expecting he would be sent to jail.

Witnesses said the judge ordered Ross to sit down, Ross ran from the courtroom. He ran to the river, asked for permission to board a private yacht and, when it was denied, jumped on board and then over the side into the river.

Ray Castellanos, one of the men on the yacht, said he warned Ross about the current and then watched him fighting it. Sheriff's deputies tried to pull Ross from the river, but he went under.

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