ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A teenager who took a trip down a river on an ice floe said Sunday that he's more bothered by the trip he took to jail afterward.
"It was dumb. I know that. It was pretty stupid. But it was all in fun," Michael Poland said of his quarter-mile voyage through downtown Fairbanks. "Having to spend a night in jail over it was just ridiculous."
The 18-year-old high school student, who said he's never even had a speeding ticket, was jumping on ice along the Chena River with friends Friday night. A 10-by-15-foot piece broke off, and Poland hopped on. His friends tossed him a milk crate to sit on and the lid of a cooler to paddle.
The river channel was filling with spring melt, but Poland said he was never worried that he was in danger.
"My buddies, they have boats at their house. They could have came and got me if I got hung up," he told The Associated Press. "And the water isn't that deep. I mean it's really cold and it's dangerous, and all that good stuff, but it was really shallow."
Still, multiple people called 911 reporting five people jumping on river ice.
The floe got hung up after about a quarter mile, and firefighters launched an inflatable boat and came to Poland's assistance. The boat bottomed out twice on their way over, Poland said.
When he got to shore, he was cuffed, placed in a police car and taken to Fairbanks Correctional Center. Officer Robert Hall told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that Poland was charged with disorderly conduct for creating a hazardous condition for the firefighters who rescued him.
Poland spent the night in jail and resolved the case the next day. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail with all 10 suspended, 50 hours of community service and fined more than $100.
His desire to get out of jail persuaded him to not fight the charges.
"I wanted to get out of there as soon as I could," Poland said. "Never been in court before, never been arrested. It was all new to me."
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