2018-07-05 / Front Page

Sheriff’s office handles diverse reports over holiday weekend

By Ben Muir

HURON COUNTY - In the first of two holiday weekends, the sheriff’s office arrested eight people, wrote 14 tickets to kayakers and carried-out two search and rescues.

With Fourth of July falling on a Wednesday, the sheriff’s office has prepared for back-to-back, holiday-caliber busy weekends.

In the first weekend, starting Friday, June 29 at 6 p.m. and ending midnight on Monday, July 2, the Huron County Sheriff’s Office handled 63 complaints, according to Sheriff Kelly Hanson. Those complaints led to eight arrests, including four alleged drunk drivers.

The first of two search-and-rescue was Saturday afternoon, when a Detroit woman was overtaken by a strong southwesterly wind while kayaking near Port Crescent State Park, Hanson said. The lone woman drifted about three miles until she was found near the Broken Rocks Association area of Port Austin Township.

The second search came Sunday night and involved a couple from Port Huron.

The sheriff’s office and Port Austin Fire Department responded to reports that the couple had been stranded off the Port Austin shoreline for an hour after their kayaks had flipped. Before either agency arrived, a Good Samaritan had been there to assist.

There were no requests for medical personnel or treatment in either search-and-rescue effort.

There were 14 tickets written to kayakers not wearing a life vest. That makes 28 citations written of that kind in 2018—just four less than the total for all of 2017, Hanson said.

Also on Saturday, the sheriff’s office responded to a report of a one-year-old baby accidentally locked in a vehicle.

“The vehicle was running,” Hanson said. “But still you can’t leave a baby locked in a car.”

Hanson has urged the community to use caution, expressing that fireworks and boating are often among the most problematic activities over the Independence Day holiday.

In fact, on Friday, the sheriff’s office responded to a 40-foot boat hitting the channel marker off Beadle Bay Marina & Campground, which is located on Sand Point in Caseville Township. A hole was plunged into the boat, Hanson said, causing water to fill the cabin cruiser. The sheriff’s office, along with Good Samaritan boaters, helped the damaged boat into the harbor.

“We cannot stress the importance of making sure your boat is properly safety equipped and in good mechanical condition,” Hanson stated in a press release last week.

New this year, the release said, along with regularly scheduled patrols, deputies have been conducting random special patrols from unmarked, shallow-water boats, which will continue over the holidays.

“Our purpose is not to harass,” Hanson wrote, “but to simply deter the paddle enthusiast who may be a little over-confident, or possibly, by mistake, has taken Lake Huron for granted.”

Along with having a life jacket and other proper attire, Hanson strongly urges kayakers to carry a cellphone in a water-proof container, and to always let someone onshore know destinations and return times.

“We further ask that kayakers be respectful of property owners and their privacy rights,” Hanson wrote.

While the weekend brought upon a string of diverse calls and complaints, Hanson still expects a busier ‘part two’ of the holiday.

“We honestly do want everyone to enjoy themselves,” Hanson added. “Memories made of good times are better to retain than one where believed innocent fun within seconds turns into tragedy and the lives of loved-ones are forever changed by something that could have easily been avoided.”

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