Merced and San Joaquin rivers remain closed in Merced County

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) — As more signs go up informing people about the closure of the Merced and San Joaquin rivers in Merced County, Sheriff Vern Warnke says he just wants to keep people safe.

“Stay out of the water. It’s that simple, stay out of the water,” said Warnke.

“I’m not trying to be a meanie. I’m just trying to protect people and prevent families from going through these tragic events which can be prevented.

The closures come after a 17-year-old boy drowned in the Merced River Saturday evening.

Crews are still searching for his body.

Wednesday afternoon, a man and a woman were rafting in the river when the swift current knocked both of them into the water.

“They got tangled up, lost the raft and next thing you know these two are hanging on to a tree in the middle of the river for dear life,” said Warnke.

CAL FIRE helped the Merced County Sheriff’s Office save the two, but Warke stresses they shouldn’t have been in the water in the first place as it could have become a tragic situation.

“Doggone it, I don’t want to use the coroner side of my title. It happens way too often and it’s preventable,” Warnke said.

The sheriff says people who choose to get in the Merced or San Joaquin rivers during this closure could face a fine and jail time.

“We don’t want that. We don’t want to cite them, we don’t even want to deal with them. But when they’re doing that, I was talking with my air unit today and I think we’re going to start patrolling that river every day by air,” Warnke said.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.