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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police cited a Camp Lejeune Marine last week for jumping into and swimming across the Cape Fear River.

A police department spokeswoman says officers responded around 1:49 a.m. Friday to a call about someone jumping into the river in the 100 block of Water Street downtown. An officer spotted the man swimming toward the Battleship North Carolina on the other side of the river.

Police called in the Wilmington Fire Department and the SABLE helicopter to help. A New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy responded to the Battleship, where he found Matthew John Miller, 21. Police cited him for violating a city ordinance against swimming in the river due to it strong, unpredictable currents.

Police say Miller is a Marine and Camp Lejeune.

LCpl. John J. Pruitt of California drowned in April 2012 after jumping or falling into the river.

Investigators say Joanne Dacuno of Greenville was drunk when she drowned the river in July 2010.

Comment on this Story

  • Tired

    Ever year some drunk idiot decides its time for a swim. The majority of them drown. By the grace of god this moron was able to live another day. I don’t know how you discourage this behavior, but this individual should be required to pay a fine equal to the amount of public services that were used. SABLE helicopter, police, and the fire department were involved. Resources that could of been used to curb these current robberies and shootings.

  • Guest-of-the-day

    that’s a long ways to walk barefoot. Great swim kid! Just ignore the rest of these fuddy duddies…

  • Guest 038875

    famous last words probably sound something like “Hey! Watch me do this!”

    Oh well, if you can’t find yourself some common sense, stupidity is probably the default substitute.

  • A marine was cited for jumping in the Cape Fear River in downtown river and he swam across to the other side. Why is this illegal? Of course it is dangerous and I would not attempt this feat. But if one feels they can how can it be illegal? Does this mean no one can jump in the Cape Fear River anywhere? But then we know that isn’t true so why can it be illegal in downtown Wilmington and not other places on the river?
    Just wondering.

  • tke1

    I guess all those years you spent in law school were just wasted. The city can pass ordinances (laws) that apply to certain areas within the jurisdiction of the city ie. the river. If this particular ordinance had not been passed and the Marine had drowned, the first comment would be “there ought to be a law against that”.

  • WilmingtonMAJ

    It’s illegal for the same reason you have to wear a seat belt even if you don’t want to. The cost of emergency services when a drunken idiot like this tries to swim a dangerous body of water gets thrown onto the tax payers. While it’s great that he safely made it across, not many people could. All it takes is one drunk dumba** to get bitten by an alligator, dragged under from the current, hit by a boat, etc… and then thousands of dollars are spent on emergency rescue efforts.

  • Guest48489r58

    I love this guy, he reminds me of a long ago generation of America. You know, when America was strong, determined, fearless, and proud? I would want this guy fighting at my side. This generation, even with tech stuff growing exponentially, couldn’t possibly put a man on the moon. In your heart, you know it, and I know it. Alas, the collapse of a once great people, happens every century I reckon.

    Lets make a city ordinance against morbid obesity.

    Semper fidelis, Brother.

  • Guest Reply Redux

    Kinda like when swimmers drown in Carolina Beach. Can’t stop those tourist…can we?

  • 211

    It’s not illegal to swim in the ocean. It isscilence class where this young man took his swim. Let them swim, but pass a law that they can’t sue.

  • gina

    First of all, no where in the article does it say that this particular man was drunk. Secondly, more people die in their car than drowning’s. Just a little note to whoever wrote this article without proof-reading, I like how the lady from 2010 drowned the river instead of drowned in the river.


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