Officer saves father, 8-year-old son from drowning in Homestead canal


Homestead, Fla. – A Homestead police officer saved an eight-year-old boy and his father from drowning Saturday in a canal on Saturday.

Derrance Hatfield Jr., his father Derrance Sr. and another adult were fishing around 10:00 a.m. from the canal bank near East Palm Drive and Southeast 142nd Avenue.

According to police, the eight-year-old child (who was unable to swim) slipped, fell into the canal and began to drown.

“The rocks were kinda slippery so I fell,” said Hatfield Jr.

Hattfield Sr., (who was also unable to swim), instinctively jumped into the canal and also began to drown.

‘I’m not gonna let my child die so I went in to save him,” the father said.

Derrance Hatfield Jr. suffered a stroke in 2021 so his father immediately jumped in to help but began to struggle himself.

Homestead officers, in addition to a Miami-Dade Schools Police Officer working the NASCAR Event, quickly ran to the canal to render aid.

“As I was directing traffic I heard a scream from the canal bank,” said Homestead Police Officer Salvador Lopez

Lopez then jumped into the canal wearing full duty gear and pulled both victims to shore, where a Homestead Police Lieutenant and Miami-Dade Schools Police Officer assisted in pulling them out of the water.

It was a scary few minutes for the father and son who say they are thankful the officers were there.

“They came out-- I don’t know from where but they showed up, said Hatfield Sr. “I want to make sure those officers are commended.”

Officer Lopez says this is a reminder for parents to teach children how to swim especially those living in Florida.

“It’s very important for parents to teach their children very early on how to swim.

The father and son were reported unharmed without any injuries.

About the Authors:

Bridgette Matter joined the Local 10 News team as a reporter in July 2021. Before moving to South Florida, she began her career in South Bend, Indiana and spent six years in Jacksonville as a reporter and weekend anchor.

Ryan Mackey is our newest digital journalist at WPLG. He is New York born and South Florida raised.