‘Rafting Gone Wild’ Organizer Speaks Out about Legal Troubles

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SACRAMENTO -- The organizer of this weekend's "Rafting Gone Wild" is speaking out about his legal troubles.

On Saturday Sammy Diaz ran away from park rangers, who were going to cite him for organizing the event, which brought out thousands, without a permit. Diaz told FOX40 he ran and later jumped off a bridge to avoid violence, and feels he shouldn't be held responsible for the entire event; nor does he see the need for a permit.

"Last time I checked, it's a public park," Diaz told FOX40 over the phone on Monday. "They kind of were trying to jump on me so I recorded the confrontation ran off and jumped off the bridge."

Diaz said if he didn't run, he believed his friends would have fought with the rangers if he was placed in handcuffs.

"Thirty people versus your little three rangers, I don't think it would have saved them," Diaz told FOX40.

While Diaz admits he did promote the event on Facebook, which brought out around 2,000 people, he said he didn't start 'Rafting Gone Wild'. He said he just used the name, which has been around since the first event in 2012.

"I'm inviting my friends. I can't help it if it goes viral and a bunch of people on rafts want to come," Diaz said.

By the end of the day, park rangers say they only made six arrests, five of which were alcohol related, one an outstanding warrant, and they only issued five alcohol citations. But Diaz told FOX40 more rafting events are coming. The warrant for his arrest isn't stopping him from promoting another event July 23. He's calling it "Raftopia."

"For sure, no (I'm not going to get a permit for Raftopia). Because we're an event that they kind of banned, so I don't think they'd issue me one," Diaz told FOX40 when asked if he planned to apply for a permit for his July and August events.

Diaz points out the county profited off the event, charging $5 for each car to park. And he feels little was done to prevent car break-ins during the event.

"They broke into my car, they stole two phones out of my glove compartment box and I also heard from a lot of people on the page that purses got stolen cause most people know if they're rafting, there's going to be stuff in their cars," Diaz told FOX40.

Park rangers also said they had issues with people jumping off the American River Bridge. Rangers could catch most violators because they had rafts waiting for them below to escape.

But they want to remind people, although there are no signs, jumping off that pedestrian bridge, located near Sunrise Boulevard and the American River in Rancho Cordova, is a misdemeanor.