When two adventurous brothers wound up behind bars Tuesday afternoon, they didn't yet know there was trouble ahead.
The bars were on a storm sewer grate, and the two boys, Eric, 14, and Jonathan Watters, 8, had to be helped out of the storm sewer by West Jordan police and firefighters.Both boys told officers they decided to explore the storm sewer after finding an opening into the system across from Joel P. Jensen Middle School, 8105 S. 32nd West.
The illegal and potentially dangerous adventure began about 2 p.m. when the two boys, equipped with flashlights and a pocket knife, crawled into the unguarded irrigation inlet.
Almost three hours and several blocks later, their flashlight batteries were dead, and the brothers decided the underground system was too complex for them to retrace their steps. They wiggled their fingers through a grate near 8250 S. 34th West and called for help for about 10 minutes until children playing in the area heard them and called the police.
The boys were taken into custody and then released to their mother. A decision whether to refer one or both boys to juvenile court for trespassing had not been reached Wednesday morning.
Joel Kertamus, West Jordan's water utilities supervisor, said the irrigation inlet the boys used is not part of the city's storm sewer system but does connect to the system just like a number of other irrigation ditches.
Rather than try to find the person responsible for the ditch, Kertamus said the city sent a welder to the inlet Wednesday morning to construct a grate over the opening to prevent future intrusions.
"There aren't many (unguarded) openings like this," Kertamus said. "If we find them as we're out working, we'll get a grate made and put it on."
Residents who know of unguarded ditch or storm sewer inlets should call the city shops so grates can be installed to prevent accidents, Kertamus said.