By Tom Gresham
Acting on an anonymous tip, Williston police officers last week crashed a small underage drinking and pot-smoking party and broke it up before it could become a larger gathering.
Williston Police Officer Brian Claffy said five teenagers were ultimately cited in some way for alcohol violations in the incident. Claffy said the odor of marijuana was also evident inside the Hillcrest Lane house where the party was located, though no one was charged with a drug offense.
Claffy said police arrived at approximately 9:45 p.m. at the house, finding a small gathering of teenagers.
“I think it seemed as though it was going to be something bigger,” Claffy said. “If we hadn’t gotten the tip that we did, I think they would have had a pretty decently sized party.”
Claffy said police received written information Friday that teenagers would be holding a party involving alcohol at the Hillcrest Lane house that night. The parents of the teenage host of the party were out of town.
Police repeatedly visited the street and drove by the house during the evening. Eventually, police recognized activity in the house and knocked on the door. The 15-year-old male who lives at the residence refused to allow police inside, Claffy said. However, Claffy said, the youth was “clearly under the influence of something other than alcohol,” and police took him into protective custody.
The 15-year-old was staying with neighbors while his parents were out of town. The neighbors were out for a few hours Friday and could not be reached. Neither could police contact the owners of the house.
The five other teens at the house would not leave the residence initially, Claffy said. Police officers stationed themselves at both the front and back doors of the residence. Two of the teens eventually relented and came outside to speak to officers.
The 15-year-old who lives at the house then gave the officers consent to enter the residence. Claffy said police did not search the house, but did gather the remaining teens who were inside. Each youth was given a Breathalyzer test. Police confiscated nine cans of beer from the house.
Two of the teens had not been drinking, including the 15-year-old who lives at the house. Claffy said one of the teens admitted to flushing marijuana down a toilet.
Police learned the names of each of the youths at the house and called their parents. The parents arrived to collect their children. The neighbors who were watching the 15-year-old also arrived. Their son was among those teens involved. Claffy said each of the parents was cooperative and helpful to police.
Two of the teens were given notices for an alcohol diversion program. Claffy said if the teens complete the program then their respective alcohol citations will be dropped.
Two other teens had previous alcohol violations. One was issued an alcohol citation, and the other was cited for violating juvenile probation.
Police declined to release the names of any of the teens because their cases are being treated as juvenile offenses. Police also did not indicate whether those cited were all Williston residents.
Another teen was given a notice for the alcohol diversion program during a traffic stop near the house Friday night. The teen was traveling in a vehicle with other youths. They appeared to be arriving for the party, Claffy said. He said he confiscated beer and rum from that vehicle.
Claffy said he observed multiple vehicles carrying juveniles turn onto Hillcrest Lane and the turn around after seeing police cruisers at the house.
Williston Police Chief Ozzie Glidden said he expects similar incidents involving youths and alcohol in the coming months.
“These types of things are not unusual, especially this time of year,” Glidden said