Ferry operator charged with boating under the influence
WHEATLAND — A Wheatland Ferry operator was arrested Saturday afternoon on charges alleging he was operating the vessel while under the influence of intoxicants.
The Marion County Sheriff's Office identified him as Brian Lynn Trussell, 57, of Salem. He was charged with two counts of recklessly endangering another person and one count of boating under the influence of intoxicants. He was lodged in Salem's Marion County Jail on $15,000 bail.
Sergeant Don Sweet and deputy Casey Burnham gave this account:
They were dispatched to the ferry about 2:30 p.m. on a report the operator was possibly intoxicated. A citizen who called 911 reported that he and his family had crossed the Willamette River on the ferry and he noticed the operator smelled of alcohol. He also said the operator tried to collect fares from his family twice, apparently forgetting that he had originally collected the money.
The sergeant and deputy contacted Trussell. He admitted to them that he had been drinking just before starting his shift. He also had liquor in his lunch box. He failed field sobriety tests that were administered and was taken into custody.
The ferry was closed for about an hour until another operator arrived and relieved Trussell.
The ferry operates from 5:30 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. daily.
Trussell's first circuit court appearance will be at 3 p.m. today.