Deputies say some people not following rules of the river

WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- Hundreds of people have been out on the river this holiday weekend soaking in the final days of summer but police tell us parents aren't always keeping their kids safe.

They hit the river eyes to the water looking for signs of potential danger, looking for speeding drivers, people drinking and just not being safe. Winnebago County Sheriff's deputies are making sure we're enjoying the holiday and not putting ourselves in harm's way.

"We do want to make sure that everybody does have the correct number of life jackets, especially the children," says Senior Deputy Gil Stansell.

Deputies say they're finding more and more children are riding on boats or water tubes without life vests. It's against the law and police say more importantly it's putting kid's lives at risk.

"We're out here to make sure everybody goes home safe at the end of the night and that everybody is being safe and following the law," says Illinois Conservation Police Officer Nathan Murry.

His department has a reputation of coming down hard of those breaking the law. Officer Murry says when it comes to kid's safety he takes no chances.

"It can go bad real quick and people don't realize how fast things can actually take a turn for the worst," he said.

Charles Stewart says he always keeps safety top of mind when out on the river because he knows how fast things can go bad. Stewart says he's seen many boaters speeding down the river.

"They come flying in between you," Stewart said. "I mean we're sitting on the river enjoying ourselves and all of a sudden... boom... you get someone who's hauling right by you."

Both the sheriff and state conservation police say that overall the cooler weather kept people off the water so there weren't as many arrests and tickets given out than what's normal.

Conservation police say they usually stop close to twenty people in a given day and give a lot of warnings and they think that's helping a lot.


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