Holiday arrests are topic of council debate

March 22, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - Eight people were arrested during St. Patrick's Day celebrations downtown, according to Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith.

Most of the people were arrested after midnight on charges of assault, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, according to police records.

Smith said Wednesday that the arrests, for the most part, were not related to the Pub Crawl, an inaugural event that was held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Participants of the crawl were shuttled among local bars by buses for a $5 fee.

The Hagerstown City Council discussed the arrests at its Tuesday work session.

Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh suggested that activities downtown are getting out of control.

She used the example of a man injuring himself Saturday after he jumped off a downtown parking deck.

That person, Keith Howell, 24, of 1383 Lindsay Lane was listed in critical condition Wednesday night at Washington County Hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said.


Police did not indicate that the incident was alcohol-related.

"I think we need to look very hard at what we are doing," Nigh said.

Nigh also talked about fights that broke out Saturday night.

Among other things, Nigh said she was concerned that innocent people could have been injured as a result.

She thanked the Maryland State Police for sending a small contingent of troopers to help Hagerstown police restore order.

"Somebody better get a grip on it," Nigh said.

Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer stressed the Pub Crawl was not sponsored by the city, but by a handful of local bar owners.

Pub Crawl organizers should work closer with the city while staging the event in the future, she said.

Cromer proposed starting the event later and scheduling more police to patrol it.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said St. Patrick's Day went pretty well in his opinion, considering only eight people were arrested from a crowd of at least 500 revelers.

The mayor assertively responded when Councilwoman Alesia D. Parson-McBean said eight arrests were unacceptable.

"I didn't say it was an acceptable number. ... It could have been worse," Bruchey said.

One of the Pub Crawl's organizers, Mike Deming, said some of the unfavorable things that happened Saturday could have been prevented.

The organizers didn't expect so many people, he said.

Deming said more communication needs to take place next year between organizers and police.

About seven bars participated in the crawl.

"I think overall, it was pretty successful," he said.

The Herald-Mail Articles