All told, the Madison County Fair was pretty quiet from a law enforcement standpoint, but one incident highlighted how underage drinking could turn into a big headache for law enforcement and search and rescue officials.
Late Saturday night, Madison County law enforcement officers saw three girls acting peculiar at the fair. All three girls appeared to be underage, so officers decided to have a talk with them, said Madison County Undersheriff Roger Thompson.
“When we attempted to go talk to them, they took off running,” Thompson said.
One girl was caught, but the two others decided their best course of action was to jump into the Beaverhead River, he said.
However, much to officers concern, only one girl appeared to come out of the river.
The incident happened at about 2 a.m. and given the temperature of the evening, the time of night and the fact the girls were presumed to have been drinking, officers immediately called Madison County Search and Rescue and Twin Bridges Fire Department personnel, Thompson said.
Their concern increased when a search of the area failed to turn up the missing girl, he said.
When officials found out the girl lived in Whitehall, they went to her house only to find her in bed still wet from her swim, Thompson said.
Apparently the girl had snuck out of the river and back to her car and drove home to Whitehall, oblivious to the search being made for her along the Beaverhead River.
All three girls are minors and Thompson wouldn’t release their names. However, each will receive a minor in possession of alcohol charge and one girl will also be charged with supplying the liquor, he said.