It should come as no shock that the Belpre cops found drug paraphernalia among Jennings and Porter's belongings.
Trader and McKnight charged Porter with failure to have life jackets aboard the dock. They charged Jennings with possession of fishing tackle without a fishing license. At the time this column was written, Belpre police hadn't yet issued charges related to the drug paraphernalia.
It's hard for me to fathom just how the two Huck Finn wannabes thought they could ride a square wood-and-oil-drum platform more than 800 miles. Without a sail, a rudder, oars or a motor, they were completely at the mercy of the river's currents.
During high flows, helical currents along the banks steer floating objects toward the river's middle, which is precisely where riverboats and barge tows tend to operate. Jennings and Porter were fortunate the two DNR officers got to them when they did. A few minutes later, the barge coming upriver quite likely would have run them over.
One also wonders how they planned to negotiate the 14 navigation dams that lay between them and the Ohio's confluence with the Big Muddy. Without steering, propulsion and a radio to navigate with lock operators, "locking through" would have been impossible.
Judging from the circumstances, though, rational thought had precious little to do with the men's decision to embark on their ill-fated journey.
Let's be really, really, really charitable and call it a "youthful impulse."
Yeah. We'll go with that.