Ban on booze keeps peace on the beach |

Ban on booze keeps peace on the beach

A ban on alcohol at some of the area’s more popular beaches had the desired effect, police reported Monday.

Nevada Beach, the scene of numerous arrests during last year’s Fourth of July celebration, drew more families and less college students with the new restriction, according to U.S. Forest Service recreation supervisor Don Lane.

“We found a few 12-packs in backpacks at the checkpoint, but people were pretty cooperative,” Lane said. “A few people sneaked over the fence with alcohol and were given citations, but that is it.”

Lane estimated around 10,000 crowded the beach after dark to view the fireworks.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dan Britton said with no alcohol allowed on the beach the activity moved to Stateline.

“We had 22 arrests in the Stateline area during the day and evening. Most of them were for disorderly conduct and public intoxication. The beaches were relatively quiet,” Britton said.

Alcohol is always banned from the South Lake Tahoe city beaches, but El Dorado County beaches were still open to alcoholic beverages. Sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Watson said, even with no restrictions, most people stayed on the good side of the law.

“We didn’t have to make any arrests at the beaches,” Watson said. “We had 17 officers working in the county and we also helped out the city. We ended up taking six people to jail in the city. They were all drunk in public, but it was pretty quiet in the county.”

The city and casino corridor seemed to be the core of disorderly conduct on Independence Day. South Lake Tahoe Police Sgt. Steve O’Brien said city police issued numerous citations for drinking in public and on the beach.

“They were reveling. We had a lot of drinking and fighting. It was a very young crowd, and they were loud,” he said.

From shortly after the fireworks ended, till the early morning hours of Monday, South Lake Tahoe Police responded to numerous calls of fights and large parties.

Only one major accident was reported July 4. Tahoe-Douglas Firefighters said a driver attempting to make a U-turn across U.S. Highway 50 near Cave Rock Road was hit by an oncoming car. The car hit the driver’s side. One person was airlifted to Washoe Medical Center. The other parties were taken to Barton Memorial Hospital. Nevada Highway Patrol officers could not be reached for more information.

The huge South Shore crowd was treated to a 35-minute fireworks show by the Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance. The presentation was choreographed and sychronized to a soundtrack broadcast by radio stations KRLRT and KOWL. It concluded with a loud, dramatic grand finale.

“We responded to 22 medical calls on the (July) fourth,” said Tahoe-Douglas Battalion Chief Rick Nicholson. “But, expect for the number of calls it was pretty much the usual stuff.”

After a relatively safe and fun Fourth of July, tourists clogged U.S. Highway 50 Monday as they headed out of the basin toward Echo Summit. California Highway Patrol officers said, despite appearances, traffic was moving smoothly as vacationers headed home.

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