“I was drinking, but I wasn’t really drunk.” – famous last words, spoken by John Morillo, the 47-year-old Canadian that damn near sparked an international border patrol catastrophe during his drunken exploits late Monday night.
After throwing down a reported eight beers near his residence on Canada’s side of the Detroit river banks, Morillo finally took it upon himself to prove to everyone he could do something he’s been claiming he was capable of for 20 years — swim across the river.
According to port authorities, the Detroit River is “extremely dangerous” due to a strong undertow that runs through the shipping channel; any public swimming in the river is illegal as cited in Port Authority Operating Regulations.
You think this was going to stop a man eight Molsons deep? Hell no.
“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, last night I just decided it was the time to go,” said Morillo. I guess there’s nothing eight beers won’t help you warm up to these days, huh?
The only problem with the Canuck’s seemingly Olympic-worthy swimming performance? Well, Morillo’s neighbor called the police around 11:30pm after losing sight of him for over half an hour, and what ensued was a multi-national search effort. Both the U.S. and Canadian coast guards were notified, and quickly deployed three boats and a helicopter to sweep the area looking for the intoxicated, yet very capable swimmer.
Little did they know, Morillo had already reached U.S. grounds, ending up on the shore in front of the Renaissance Center in Detroit.
“When I got to the Renaissance Center I couldn’t find a way to get up onto the platform,” said Morillo. “Then some guy said ‘hey there’s a ladder over here.’ I climbed up the ladder, then people were asking to take their pictures with me. There was one woman, she said she was from Windsor and she thought I was crazy. She was right.”
Then he slipped back in the river for his return trip. It wasn’t long after that he realized his swim had attracted more attention than anticipated.
“As soon I saw the helicopters going by and the boats looking for me, I was like ‘oh, this is really stupid,’” said Morillo.
Morillo was eventually apprehended around 12:50am back on the Canadian side of the river. He’s been charged with public intoxication and faces a fine that can range from $5,000 to $25,000. According to him, his mother isn’t too happy either.
But at least John Morillo proved a point…
“If I’m going to be in the paper, I’d at least like them to say I actually made it, even though I got in trouble and everything,” Morillo, 47, said Tuesday. “I gotta pay fines and stuff. But 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.”
Right on. Keep fighting the good fight, John. There may be a spot on the Canadian Olympic team for you in the near future.
I really cannot get over the swim this guy took. At 11 o’clock at night. When he was clearly hammered drunk.
Stuff of legends.
[via The Windsor Star]
Image via Google Maps