TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A man who suffered hypothermia after falling into a creek in Polk County was arrested after a quick hospital stay, authorities said.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said Dillard Hamilton, 52, of Auburndale was wanted by law enforcement for burglary and grand theft. On Tuesday night, they found him trapped in chest-deep water, clinging to a tree.
According to deputies, Hamilton fell into a creek after getting lost in the woods off Dawn Heights Drive in unincorporated east Lakeland. Several people in the area called 911 after hearing his screams for help.
When deputies found Hamilton, they said he appeared confused and was shivering and moving very slowly. His body temperature was 84 degrees, so he was taken to an area hospital to be treated for hypothermia.
Hamilton was released from the hospital after he became uncooperative with staff and refused treatment.
He was arrested on outstanding warrants for burglary of a conveyance, grand theft motor vehicle and grand theft, then taken to the Sheriff’s Processing Center in Winter Haven.
“Deputies did a fantastic job with this rescue, and despite the conditions, they were able to locate Hamilton and pull him to safety rather quickly. Given his condition, they probably got to him just in time. We are also looking into why he was out there in the first place. He has a history of burglaries and thefts, so that is being investigated,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.