CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News) A Neenah man has been fined $865 for making rescuers in Eau Claire spend parts of two days looking for missing kayakers who never existed. 30-year-old Andrew Wallace admitted making up a story about two men falling from a boat in April in the Chippewa River in Eau Claire. Personnel from the state D-N-R joined local police and rescuers in waters that were high, choppy, and dangerous at the time -- and a helicopter from the Mayo Health System joined in the search.
Wallace was convicted of making a fake 9-1-1 call, and two counts of obstructing officer. Two other obstruction counts were dropped in a plea deal.
Wallace moved to the Fox Valley after living in Manitowoc at the time of his arrest. He'll be allowed to stay there, after choosing 240 hours of community service over 30 days in jail. Wallace must also write apology letters to the agencies involved in the search.
Media reports said the false incident cost local fire departments $7,600 in manpower time and equipment -- plus about 70 man-hours for Eau Claire Police and county sheriff's personnel.