Fight on Florida lake ends with multiple arrests; sends party-goer to hospital

Sheriff's deputies in Volusia County needed to medically evacuate a man after a fight on Lake George. They said the incident happened during the Mayhem on Lake George event near Astor. Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said about a dozen people were arrested on Saturday. Most of them were for alleged boating DUIs, but some were for the fight that broke out in the middle of the party, he explained.

Volusia County’s Air-One helicopter was able to capture video of about a half-dozen males fighting near the DJ Barge. The chopper pilot spots a man unconscious on the stage bleeding from his head.

"Like anything else you’re going to have knuckleheads to try to ruin everything and our job is to eradicate the knuckleheads," said Chitwood.

Deputies were able to get close to the stage with help from supportive partygoers who pushed their boat to the barge. They were able to get the unconscious man to a helicopter and take some of those believed to be involved in the fight into custody.

"They actually had to guide us in. We lifted our engine out of the water and had them get us in, so we can get medical attention to the individual who was severely injured in the fight," said Chitwood.

The unsanctioned event has become a yearly tradition held on the lake on the first Saturday of every May. "It’s a moneymaker for the businesses around the area," said local Dennis Kendall. "People come to the restaurants, buy gas and stuff like that, so it does help out the community."

Kendall said he doesn’t find the event to be a bother, although, when the big parties come to town he likes to stay off the water. "Just let them do their thing. It ain’t bothering me. Let them go and do whatever. The law enforcement’s going to get them if they’re running around doing anything wrong," said Kendall.

Deputies from Volusia, Orange, Lake, and Seminole counties, as well as officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, issued eight citations and 50 warnings in addition to the arrests.

Chitwood would like the unsanctioned event to become permitted in the future to stop draining valuable resources.  "We accrued costs. Orange County accrued costs. Lake County accrued costs and Seminal County because even though it’s mutual aid taxpayers are still paying to put policing out there," said Chitwood.