Streetlight reveler turns self into police |

Streetlight reveler turns self into police

Bradley Foster

The man who tore a traffic signal from its pole at Stateline New Year’s

Eve turned himself in Friday to Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies.

Eric Lawson, 18, of Davis, Calif., will be arraigned Jan. 31 on charges of

disorderly conduct and destruction of property.

Lawson climbed the streetlight just after midnight Jan. 1 and stayed there for 45 minutes. An ambivalent crowd of 50,000 both cheered and threw bottles and shoes at him while he stripped down to his boxers and played to the increasingly wild audience.

After climbing to the end of the pole, Lawson swung from the signal which fell into the street below.

Law enforcement officials had cleared the area below moments before the signal fell, preventing injury.

After police withdrew to the base of the pole, Lawson leaped into the

crowd and escaped.

The Tahoe Daily Tribune ran three pictures of Lawson on the pole, and

investigators eliminated a handful of people thought to be the man in the picture before settling on Lawson as a suspect. Investigators said a

phone tip led them to the 18-year-old.

After learning the picture was of Lawson, a freshman at Davis, campus police were asked to contact him. Lawson then called Ted Duzan of the Sheriff’s office and said, “I hear you are looking for me,” according to a press release.

Lawson, who was described by Duzan as apologetic, provided the Tribune

with a letter expressing his sorrow and willingness to pay for the damage he caused.

“I want to let the people know that I am sorry and that I do regret

everything that has happened,” Lawson wrote.

The California Department of Transportation repaired the broken signal

early in the morning on New Year’s Day at a cost of $802, according to Caltrans spokeswoman Laura Featherstone.

The signal is owned by Douglas County but is operated and maintained by


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