Unruly crowd, arrests mark Fourth events
Basin law enforcement reported packed Lake Tahoe beaches for the annual Fourth of July fireworks display Saturday night.
“It was like New Year’s Eve in the summer,” Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Lance Modispacher said. “Generation X was out in full force.”
Modispacher was assigned to Nevada Beach in the Zephyr Cove area.
He said somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 people flocked to that beach. Modispacher said there were families who frequented the beach, but most of the people who were drinking and using drugs were high school and college age kids. According to Modispacher, only some of the younger participants posed a problem to authorities.
Modispacher said police tried to be lenient with the young crowd, but when several fights erupted around nightfall, Douglas sheriffs arrested about 30 people in the Tahoe area, most for battery, resisting a public officer or public intoxication.
He said a deputy was injured when he was hit with a flying beer bottle in the head and said there were beer bottles and cans about a foot deep covering the beach Sunday morning.
According to Modispacher, the crowd made its way to the Stateline casinos after deputies cleared them from the beach.
There, intoxicated partiers reportedly crowded entrances to casinos, refusing to let patrons enter and exit.
He said the sheriff’s office had a traveling booking center in a police van, and, after calling it to arrest a person under suspicion of using marijuana, five others were arrested for similar offenses before the van arrived.
“Everybody was just smoked,” Modispacher said.
On the other side of the lake, California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Bunn estimated there were “about a zillion” people at Camp Richardson watching fireworks.
He said normally it takes only minutes to clear the beach after the fireworks, but this year it took at least an hour.
Modispacher said U.S. Highway 50, from Zephyr Cove to Stateline, was bumper to bumper, while Bunn said the California side of the highway was inundated with cars, both Saturday night and into Sunday.
South Lake Tahoe police had a busy Fourth of July on city beaches also.
Officers responded to 18 different calls at Regan, El Dorado, Stateline, and Lakeside beaches. The calls resulted in 14 arrests although most were cited and released rather than taken to jail.
“The Fourth’s on a Sunday next year,” Modispacher said. “It looks like we’ll have the same rodeo.”
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