By NR Staff • 

Ferry operator charged with boating under the influence

Brian L. Trussell

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.


Dances with Redwoods

Striking resemblance to that of actor Dakin Matthews.


I would be a bit peeved that he was operating with me on board while intoxicated. Irresponsible, and a total disregard of another's life.


Easy on the guy. It's on a cable - where was he going to take it?


No wonder the police were there, right at the time I was going to cross from Keizer to Dayton. I think my angels were watching over me. That's scary - I wonder how many times he was drunk when I crossed. And no, Rotwang...not easy on the guy. He DROVE to the ferry and he would have DRIVEN home.


Rotwang, what if the cable snapped, what if the water had a sudden rise or drop for reasons upstream, what if a person were to fall off while in operation, what if there was a medical emergency, what if a car made an error boarding and caused some type of issue, what if there was some type of mechanical failure, what if...

He is paid to attend the ferry in his fullest capacity, not to be drunk. Whether those things really happened that night or not, the potential is there, and if you were a paying patron on the ferry while he was intoxicated and there was suddenly some type of serious emergency, you would expect and insist that he be capable and sober to handle the situation. Additionally as another pointed out, he had to drive to and from the ferry- doing so intoxicated put every persons life at risk that he passed- what if you were the one he passed, your wife/husband/child?

Easy on the guy, not if I were the one in charge. Unacceptable behavior, if he wants to drink he can do so at home, give the job to someone who needs it and will respect those lives left in his short but serious charge. There are enough unemployed people out there that would leap at the chance to enjoy their day on the water.

Just Lookin

He royally screwed up, he had a job to do and was unable to do his job correctly.
Good for the person who called it in. Regardless of the ferry being secured by a cable, many things could have happened, and he might not have been able to react in a correct of efficient manner.
Time for counseling on his dime, and then decide if he needs his job or not.

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