Man arrested in Durant after swimming in pond, hiding from law enforcement in trees

DURING, Okla. (KXII) – A man was arrested in Durant on Thursday after fleeing his vehicle after a tribal police investigator arrested him. Lead the police in pursuit across land and water.

Choctaw Nation Tribal Police said the car he was driving fitted the description of a vehicle involved in an active criminal attempted forgery case the officer was working on.

He pulled Robert Raffee, 45, around 10:30 am That’s when Raffee got out of the car and went to a nearby pond behind the Choctaw RV Park, swimming to the area. swamps in the back to escape the police.

Police said Raffee refused to exit the pond, so Durant’s firefighters had to deploy a boat to help take Raffee into custody.

Raffee swam around the pond, pulling away from the boat with each stroke. Refusing even the outstretched paddle of the officers offering to bring him on board.

“He was evading and walking away from anyone who came close to him,” said Darin Ferguson, who watched the chase unfold. “He would take grass and water lilies and put them on his head.”

Ferguson said Raffee was in the middle of the pond trying to get away from the officers, hiding in the bushes by the riverbank for hours.

“He disappeared under the bushes and crawled out of the water and into the trees,” Ferguson said. “Then the fire department and the rescue team changed their strategy and that’s when we heard the chainsaw start.”

Raffee had swam to the back side of the pond and was able to get out and climb a tree where he sat among the members for 3.5 hours as the crew negotiated with him to get off and surrender.

“His agenda was that I would make this last as long as possible,” Ferguson said. “He didn’t show any aggression, he didn’t show any violent tendency. He just looked more like a confused individual trying to evade himself. “

Raffee is currently in the Bryan County Jail. According to court records, he has yet to be charged with anything.

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