Olentangy Valley News

Warning issued to would-be cliff-jumpers: 'Just don't do it'

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Delaware County Sheriff's deputies responded on two separate occasions in late July to the O'Shaughnessy Reservoir on Glick Road in Powell on reports of teenagers leaping from cliffs.

At 1:50 p.m. July 28, a Columbus Watershed ranger reported he saw four male teenagers heading toward the cliffs near the dam. Reports said when deputies arrived, the teens were at the bottom of the cliff, and it was clear they had jumped into the water to get there. They were cited for criminal trespassing, according to reports.

Six more teenagers were cited for criminal trespassing July 30 when they were spotted cliff-diving at the reservoir. According to reports, deputies appr-oached the divers at 7:20 p.m. During a search, deputies found one teen was in possession of a pill bottle that contained marijuana and another had a glass bong that appeared to contain burnt marijuana residue, reports said. The two were charged with possession of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Lt. Dave Butler said such incidents at O'Shaughnessy Reservoir aren't common. He said an area near the Alum Creek bridge on routes 36/37 seems to be the most-popular spot for cliff-jumpers.

He said deputies this year have responded to fewer incidents than typical. While he didn't know exactly how many times deputies have been dispatched to the area, he said he thinks it has been just "a handful, at best."

Those who are caught jumping off the 30- to 40-foot-high cliffs at Alum Creek Park are dealt with by state park rangers who can cite perpetrators for being in a non-designated area, Butler said. The cliff-jumpers at O'Shaughnessy Reservoir were cited by the sheriff's department because that property is run by Columbus Watershed Management.

Although cliff trespassers can be cited, Butler said there are even more important consequences to consider when making the jump.

"You don't know how deep the water is in that area; you don't know what you're jumping into if you're jumping from a distance; and you don't know what you're going to encounter when you hit the water," he said. "A moment of fun could turn into a tragedy real quick.

"Just don't do it, because it's not safe," he added. "Stick to designated swimming areas."

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