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Release Number: 09-140

For Immediate Release

Public Information Office

May 17, 2009

JD Callaway:

(813) 247-8060




Sheriff's Helicopter Crew Delivers Paramedics To Man In Need of Medical Assistance In The Woods


Sheriff's dispatchers received an emergency call around 1:41 p.m. today from a child who reported a man having a medical issue in the woods in eastern Hillsborough County. The man and two children had been out hiking in the woods when the man suffered some sort of seizure.


Dispatchers notified EMS and the Sheriff's Aviation Unit, where HCSO pilots Lester Hathcox and Frank Stott took off in search of the victim. The victim, a 45-year-old male, was somewhere in the deep woods around Dover Road and Sydney Washer Road. The helicopter crew spotted the man and two children in the woods in that area. Pilot Hathcox was unable to land in the area due to the thick undergrowth and the mucky soil conditions, so he hovered a few feet off the ground and dropped off Deputy Stott, who made his way to the man and the children.


Deputy Hathcox then flew to a nearby soccer field and picked up two Fire Rescue paramedics, and delivered them to the area of the injured man. Hathcox kept the helicopter hovering while the paramedics and Deputy Stott carried the man to the helicopter. Deputy Stott stayed with the children while the helicopter transported the victim back to the soccer field around 2:32 p.m., where a waiting ambulance took him to Brandon Regional Hospital.


Deputy Hathcox, a veteran pilot, flew the helicopter back to the woods and hovered while the deputy and the children got aboard. The children, an 11-year-old boy and his 13-year-old sister, were reunited with their mother at the soccer field around 2:47 p.m.


The victim, Jeffery Sutherland, DOB 4/3/65, of 1052 Sydney Dover Road, is a family friend. He arrived at the hospital in critical condition, but has been upgraded to serious condition.


Deputy Hathcox is 52, a deputy since 1983, and an HCSO pilot since 1995.


Deputy Stott is 43, a deputy since 2003, and an HCSO pilot since 2007.