By Greg Gullberg
March 06, 2013
Madison Co., FL - Pools of flood water coat much of the land around the swelled up Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers. And Madison County Sheriff Ben Stewart says that's a real challenge for small departments like his.
"I've got double shifts on the river. Land patrol 24/7 trying to check on these barricades. Trying to check on people who are out there. Trying to keep people out who don't need to be there," said Sheriff Stewart.
Tuesday the mission became river rescue. The Madison Sheriffs Department took canoes out to rescue a stranded hiker in the Suwannee River State Park. The West Palm Beach resident was stuck in chest deep water and on the verge of hypothermia.
"I'm afraid that if we hadn't been able to get to him the result may not have been awfully good for him," said Sheriff Stewart.
Sheriff Stewart says any time there's flooding, the department can expect to be spread extra thin. But few things can distract away from recovery efforts quite like a meth bust.
Madison Deputies busted two people cooking Methamphetamine in a vacant house, when the property owner called 9-1-1. Investigators believe 24 year old David Blackman and 20 year old Brandy Placzkowski had been hiding there for several days while they cooked.
"Luckily we were in the vicinity but the problem is we had to pull some of our resources we were trying to work the river with to go deal with this situation," the Sheriff said.
Sheriff Stewart says an awful lot goes into cleaning up a meth bust and with the flood it couldn't have come at a worse time.