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Mostly success for Sac River booze ban Sunday before Labor Day

By Colin Steiner, csteiner@krcrtv.com
Published On: Sep 01 2013 08:07:33 PM CDT
Mostly success for Sac River booze ban Sunday before Labor Day
CHICO, Calif. -

A Labor Day weekend alcohol ban on the Sacramento along the Butte/Glenn County lines seems to have quieted the crowd but is getting some mixed reviews.

A year ago at this time, a Bay Area man went missing along the Sacramento River.

One month later, Brett Olson--a San Luis Obispo student--was found drowned in a death ruled accidental.

Huge amounts of alcohol was found in his system.

This year a booze ban was enacted along the Sacramento River for the holiday weekend in an attempt to keep such a tragedy from happening again.

That didn't stop thousands from making their way to the Irving Finch Boat Launch to "float" the river--although word is the crowd was severely smaller than last year.

Law enforcement officials were watching for people who might be too drunk to get in the water and checking bags for alcohol.

They say unlike a year ago, this year's crowd was relatively sedate.

"It's been a lot more manageable this year," says State Parks Superintendent Denise Risk. "There's a lot less alcohol coming through."

Although most alcohol was being kept off the river, that doesn't mean river-goers weren't drinking.

"There's a lot of people who are intoxicated at some level when they get here," Risk says. "Not everyone, but the majority of the people have had something to drink already."

Some people out enjoying the festivities, like Chico State sophomore Tommy Fickett, thought that made the event somewhat more dangerous.

"I think a lot of people are just cramming in the alcohol before they come in and I think that's also making it a lot more unsafe," Fickett says.

Lilli Coniglio, also a Chico State sophomore, felt that, by the numbers, less people equaled less danger.

"It's definitely keeping people off the river," Coniglio says. "A lot of my friends don't want to come now."

But, when asked whether the ban was encouraging more drinking beforehand, she said, "Oh for sure. Yeah, you got to make it last, I guess."

As of the 3 p.m. Sunday the Butte County Sheriffs Office tweeted that it had made 50 public assists, 33 rescues, one arrest for drunk in public, two for DUI,  and one for possession of narcotics.