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Police pluck alleged boat thief from water

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Posted at 4:14 PM, Feb 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-25 18:39:03-05

A man, hoping to hop a ride on a 40-foot, sports fishing boat that didn't belong to him, was rescued early Thursday by the last person he may have wanted to see - a Port Richey police officer.

Jason Raymond Ewashko, 29, of New Port Richey has been accused of trying to steal the sports fishing boat named "The Paladin"  from behind the Seaside Inn in the 5300 block of Treadway Drive in Port Richey, authorities said.

The incident occurred about 4:30 a.m. Thursday, when Port Richey police officers responded to a call about a reported boat theft in progress behind the Seaside Inn. When officers arrived, the spotted a man, later identified as Ewashko, on board the vessel.

Officers said the suspect pushed the boat's throttle in an attempt to flee. The vessel accelerated and struck two pylons, causing them to snap. The boat became lodged against a third pylon.

The suspect fell off the boat and into the Pithlachascottee River. He hung onto the boat and yelled for help.

Police Sgt. Michael Koch drove to nearby Nick's Park, where he jumped on a Port Richey police boat, returned to the boat accident scene and safely pulled Ewashko from the water.

Paramedics rendered medical aid due to concerns Ewashko may have suffered hypothermia. Shortly after they assessed his condition, Ewashko was turned over to the Port Richey police.