An intoxicated man was arrested late Friday after rescue personnel pulled him from the Chattahoochee River without a life vest at the 13th Street Bridge, Columbus police said.
Darren Pate, 32, was taken into custody about 9:25 p.m. on one count each of disorderly while intoxicated and being on the Chattahoochee River without a life vest. He was held in the Muscogee County Jail for a 2 p.m. Thursday hearing in Recorder’s Court.
Police were called to the river about 8:15 p.m. to check on two men in distress in the river. During an investigation, police learned from the Rescue Squad of the Columbus Department of Fire & Emergency Medical Services that one appeared to be intoxicated and in distress.
The man refused to listen to commands from rescue personnel and attempted to enter the water several times. After the man entered the river, rescue personnel launched equipment and safely rescued the man. Pate was treated at the scene before he was taken into custody.
Life vests are required by law for anyone in the area along Columbus’ whitewater course. That would include the river from North Highlands dam to the south end of the Columbus Convention & Trade Center. Exceptions may apply to sanctioned events such as swim competitions.
Pate’s arrest came eight days after a kayaker found the body of 25-year-old Thomas Odom on June 8, a day after he apparently drowned while snorkeling near 11th Street and Bay Avenue. The Warner Robins, Ga., man was not wearing a life vest.
His body was located at Rotary Park near the Bulldog Bait and Tackle on Victory Drive. The park is about a mile south of the location where walkers on the Chattahoochee Riverwalk spotted Odom in distress.