Dispute leads man to drive rig into lake, sheriff says

A disgruntled truck driver drove the cab of a tractor-trailer into Lake Oconee early Monday morning to get back at his employer, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said.

The driver, Ty Nicholas Taylor, 24, of Eatonton, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor obstruction of an officer, attempting to elude an officer and criminal damage to property in the second degree, which is a felony.

Sills said Taylor was a driver for USA Trucks, a trucking company in Indiana, and was having a pay dispute with the company. He refused to surrender his truck, so the company called the sheriff's office to get it back, Sills said.

Deputies found Taylor at a McDonald's near the Lake Oconee area, Sills said. After several attempts by the deputies to get Taylor to leave the vehicle, Sills said Taylor drove away and headed toward the lake.

"He refused the deputy's instructions and abruptly left," the sheriff said.

Taylor drove to the lake at about 3:30 a.m. and waited at the boat ramp for a fisherman to take his boat out of the lake, then drove his truck, which had no trailer attached, into the water, almost completely submerging it, Sills said.

Taylor then swam out of the lake and surrendered to deputies, Sills said.

"He made a conscientious effort not to damage the patrol cars or the guy with the fishing boat," Sills said.

A representative for USA Trucks said the company is declining to comment on the situation.

Sills said he was not aware of any previous criminal history involving Taylor.

"It's not the strangest thing I've seen in 35 years," Sills said. "I've seen far more bizarre stuff than this, but this is one of the most bizarre things we've had in years."