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Man drowns after fleeing from deputies

On Thursday, April 12, Anderson County Sheriff’s Narcotics Investigators observed what was believed to be a drug transaction between occupants of two vehicles in a local business parking lot near North Charles G. Seivers Blvd. in Clinton at about 11:45 p.m.

Deputies attempted to stop both vehicles as they left the parking lot.

One did stop but the other fled from North Charles G. Seivers Blvd. onto I-75 where deputies saw the driver throw out an article out of the car window.

The pursuit continued Southbound on I-75 until the car exited at Raccoon Valley Road and turned back into Anderson County.

The chase continued on several county roads until the driver stopped at the dead end of Nature Lane at Blockhouse Valley Road in Claxton.

The driver fled on foot, through the woods, and jumped into a small pond near the road. After entering the pond, the driver was seen to be in distress. A deputy followed the driver into the pond, swam over, and pulled him from the water.

As the driver was unresponsive, deputies started and continued CPR until EMS and fire crews arrived. Paramedics were unable to revive the driver and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

After investigation the driver was identified as Ron Walter Austin, 41, of Andersonville.

Austin has a lengthy arrest history and is currently on state parole for methamphetamine charges as well as federal supervised release after serving time in federal prison also for methamphetamine charges.

An autopsy will be performed at the Regional Forensic Center in Knoxville. At this time it is not known if the death is from drowning, drug related, or from some other medical problem.

Suspected prescription narcotics were found in the first vehicle that was stopped by investigators.

Deputies searched both last night and this morning but were unable to locate whatever was thrown from the car onto the interstate.

The drug investigation is ongoing and no additional information can be released on that at this time.the autopsy and toxicology results.