Park Rangers Warn: Don't Car Surf or Cliff Jump

Yep -- people still need to be warned about this stunt

By Jessica Greene
|  Tuesday, Jun 29, 2010  |  Updated 10:07 AM PDT
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It seems like one of those things that doesn't need a warning but California State Park Rangers are finding themselves in the position of telling people anyway: Don't jump from a moving vehicle.

The warning comes after Sacramento TV station KCRA captured video of a teenager doing just that -- leaping from a moving SUV. Cameras were rolling as the kid jumped from the roof of a Ford Explorer as it traveled over a bridge crossing the American River. It was about a 30-foot drop into the cool water but it could have been the boy's last act of stupidity if things went wrong.

It's not the first time someone jumped into the river before from a moving vehicle. Teens at the river said they've seen it done before. Sometimes the vehicle is going as fast as 40 mph.

A park ranger who saw KCRA's video said he's never before seen the stunt.

"It's completely insane," Park Ranger Richard Preston said, "Totally illegal on several counts."

Illegal at best, fatal at worst. Just car surfing is a crime for both the driver and surfer and could result in an infraction. Cliff jumping is also against the law -- a misdemanor that could result in a $1,000 fine and land the violators in jail. Not to mention in the E.R.

Park rangers face a tough time stopping people from the dangerous way of cooling off. Signs posted at the popular site warn people about the dangers of jumping into the river and the strong current. But state budget cuts mean fewer rangers to stop people from jumping off the bridge over the American River.

Last year, a teenager died while cliff jumping into Natoma River, part of the American River. Rangers say someone is killed or injured every year wile cliff jumping. They want things to be different this year and are hoping the video will work toward that goal.

Photo from Aresauburn's Flickr photostream

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