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Man runs from police, jumps into Cape Fear River


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- An assault investigation downtown led to a search after a police say a man ran from them and jumped into the Cape Fear River. It happened Friday morning around 1:15 a.m.

Police were talking with Caleb Mercer, 20, after they saw him running from the scene of a fight. Officers say as they tried to get his information, he handed them someone else's driver license. As an officer was writing Mercer a citation, the officer was distracted by two other men running toward him. That's when police say Mercer took off toward the river.

Investigators say when a New Hanover County Sheriff's deputy approached Mercer, he jumped into the river at the foot of Market Street and swam all the way across to the river to the Battleship North Carolina.

Wilmington Police, SABLE and the State Ports Authority searched for Mercer for about an hour. They found him in a marsh near the Battleship.

Mercer surrendered, and officers took him into custody around 2 a.m. Police say Mercer is charged with hinder/obstruct/delay public officers, consuming alcohol under 21, obtain/attempt to obtain alcohol with a drivers license of another person and city code violation of swimming in the river from the park.

We requested to talk to Mercer in jail. A Sheriff's Office spokesman said Mercer had bonded out, and his mother said he could not talk with us.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Hell yeah Caleb! Your the man

Hell yeah Caleb! Your the man


THAT'S MY BOY!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA! Your boys back in Picktown are proud haha!

Not wasted

There was no waste of tax payers money here.In case you dont know, this is what these agencys do.WPD did their job by issueing the citions,SABLE is always in the air,so they did their job by locating the kid,and the WPA did their job by helping look for him in their area.The question I have is "Did they cite the bars for serving underage?"Thats the real crime that occurred and continues to happen on a regular bases.One day this kid will realize just how lucky he was.Oh and just for the record "A tax for a ballfield would be a waste of tax payers money."

Dude shoulda did this on

Dude shoulda did this on Saturday. He could have received a Beach2Battleship finisher medal

Phelps impersonator

The real story here is that in a grand total of 45 mins, from fight to jump and capture, there were 3 agencies, a helicopter, and probably numerous cars and boats, closing in on this public menace.

Yes he's guilty of being drunk etc, but you have to also give him credit for a pretty good swim time. Especially being pickled.

So let the judge fine him, and then acknowledge he made a good swim, and don't let it happen again.

Was there any video to go along with this Olympic drinker/swimmer?


I like the part at the end where it says his mommy wouldn't let him talk about his escapades....

Great joint effort

Great teamwork by the WPD, SABLE & State Port Police. A lot of people don't realize what an asset of having the State Port is to our community. Their police department actually has surprisingly vast jurisdiction, especially on the water, and has so many tools & equipment to help keep our community safer in addition to what WPD & the Sheriff's Office can also offer. It's nice to see agencies working together toward a common goal.

Are you F###ing joking?

Are you F###ing joking? Yeah, great waste of public resources chasing some kid for hours across a river for the heinous offense of drinking underage. How much fuel, how many man hours, and how many other serious crimes were neglected for this tax payer funded episode of Mantracker. Good job law enforcement, we are all much safer for your valiant efforts. I, for one, will sleep much better knowing there is one less 20 year old partying downtown.

So, when somebody runs from

So, when somebody runs from law enforcement, you're saying that they should just let them go? That's got potential lawsuit all over it. How long did it take you to write that response with one hand, while you were holding your can of Bud in the other?
"chasing some kid for hours..." 1:15 AM to 2:00 AM is 45-minutes. I realize that you don't have that many fingers & toes to count on, but sober up before you respond.

KoolMoDee, I couldn't agree

KoolMoDee, I couldn't agree with you more. A total waste of taxpayer money just so the authorities can puff their chests out and say "we got him". They need to be in the hood where the real problems are.


You're right... Downtown Wilmington doesn't have any problems. Let's keep the cops away from there.
We don't wanna waste all that taxpayer money that's pouring in from those people living in "the hood."

And you are clueless

It may have only been underage drinking, but when he jumped in the river, it was a whole new ballgame. If he had drowned, you would be blaming the cops for letting that happen right under their very eyes. Once he is swimming in river, it's a search and rescue incident until he is safely recovered.

Quit drinking the bong water.

KoolMoeDee, you're an idiot

So the guy hands over a false ID, then runs. Why did he run over something so simple as that? Maybe, just maybe, he has serious warrants for his arrest, maybe he just killed someone and is hiding, maybe he's an escaped prisoner.
So you think that they should have just let him swim? Fool. What if he drowned, like that last idiot that jumped in. His Mom, who won't let him talk would sue that pants off of the city. Whats more cost effective and responsible to the citizens here - TO FIND HIM!

Good job to all that took care of this.

KoolMoeDee is a retard

Yeah, but let him beat you or one your friends, then lets see what happens. Worried about a serious crimes, huh? Where do you think they start out at. They keep getting away with stuff because panzy people like you cry, bitch and whine. He was obviously underage using someone else's ID. He's lucky that Charlie the alligator didn't make a meal out of him. How did you know he wasn't a murderer or rapist from another area, hanging out in our city? Do you know him? Maybe we should check you out. We don't need scum downtown. There should be a 2 drink max at all establishments downtown and then you have to leave, but you know that's not going to happen. So leave the police alone and let them do their job!

OK Let them fight and drink

Ok let the kid go, let them fight and drink as much as they want and not answer for anything they do. Im glad you can sleep better at night now Maybe you could use the rest?

got him

They got him dead to rights on the city code violation, but the rest of the stuff will be pled down to unsupervised probation or dismissed. Possible fine and scolding from mommy will be the real punishment in this juducial system.


I thought it was pretty badazz that he swam across the river at night.

He's a much better man than you Guesty. A much better man....

just a teen fight at a party, the boy could have drowned

Grrrreat; had he drowned in the treacherous Cape Fear we would be paying another 2 million lawsuit like the teenager shot and killed with the playstation controller in his hand. When now do police back off, regroup and go apprehend later with less stressful escalation? Where is the department manual on yearly psych review and counselling as part of training? All the really good departments do it.

too bad

Too bad he didn't drown or was munched on by an alligator.

You wish he'd drowned or

You wish he'd drowned or been eaten by an alligator? What kind of person are you? This was a kid who partied underage, got in a fight and made a run for it when the cops showed up. He's not a rapist or murderer. And you're wishing him dead? You sir, are a horrible person - much worse than the kid who ended up in handcuffs.


its a prelude of things to come from this upstanding citizen...won't be the last time our hard earned tax dollars are wasted on this idiot!

I'm ok with that.

Why ask what type of person I am and then tell me I'm a horrible person?

Shut Up!

You need shut your mouth if you don't know the person or their situation. This is a pointless page. He isn't a rapist or murder, he is my cousin, and I'm pretty sure all you (HATERS) out there have made a mistake in your lifetime. Get yall's heads out of yall's asses and see that he is a college student trying to have fun at college. Yeah it was wrong to jump and swim like Micheal Phelps down the river. But I am just glad he is safe. Oh and one last thing GET A DAMN LIFE!

I see old Guesty is still

I see old Guesty is still his old charming self. Ever think about going back under your rock?


Aw..leave him alone. Who would you pick on if he went back under his rock? Hmmm?


No, I wouldn't want to have to evict you from there.