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Drunk Man Arrested After Swimming Across Detroit River

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Detroit Riverwalk (WWJ Photo/Kasey Stoddart)

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A man who wanted to prove he could swim across the Detroit River from Canada to the U.S. ended up prompting and international rescue operation.

John Morillo, 47, told The Windsor Star that he was drinking alcohol before Monday night’s swim and for years had said he could make it from Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit. He was cited for being intoxicated in a public place and released from jail Tuesday.

“I was drinking, but I wasn’t really drunk,” he said. “The thing is, I’ve been telling people I’m going to swim across the river for years and they’re like ‘Yah, yah, blah, blah, you can’t make it.’ So, I don’t know, [Monday] night I just decided it was the time to go.”

Morillo made it across, and was swimming back when he was picked up.

“I actually made it, even though I got in trouble and everything,” he said. “I don’t want it to sound like I didn’t make it, because then my buddies are going to say ‘Ha, ha, you didn’t make it.’ Because that was the whole thing, to show them I could do it.”

Morillo’s neighbor, who witnessed the swim, called police about half an hour after she lost sight of him. Three boats and a helicopter were deployed to search the area.

“As soon I saw the helicopters going by and the boats looking for me, I was like ‘Oh, this is really stupid,’” he said.

Morillo said he regrets causing problems for authorities, including Windsor police and Coast Guard crews from the U.S. and Canada.

“I’m very sorry that I put those rescue people and the city workers and the Coast Guard out of their way for something so stupid,” he said.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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