TERRE HAUTE —
Weekend citations have strained the Terre Haute city court system.
The city’s website has added a special link for those arrested or issued tickets in conjunction with the 2012 Scheid Diesel Extravaganza. According to information contained on the website, delays in the process are to be expected.
“If you are unable to locate your case through mycase.in.gov, please do not call our office until three weeks prior to your court date. We will have a large number of cases and it will take time to enter all of them,” the online statement reads.
Deputy clerk Michelle Edwards said a true count of the related arrests and citations won’t be known for some time, as multiple agencies from state to local participated.
“We won’t know for a few more weeks because we’re still waiting for charges to be filed with us,” she said Thursday afternoon.
According to a media release issued by the Indiana State Police on Sunday morning, total traffic citations issued by that agency numbered 755, with 65 arrests, including five felonies. But a report issued by the Indiana State Excise Police states that agency issued 178 tickets to 148 individuals, many of which served as an arrest of sorts. Eighty-three people were cited for illegal possession or consumption of alcohol, and five adults were cited for furnishing or providing alcohol to a minor.
Rob Roberts, chief deputy prosecutor of Vigo County, explained that many of the individuals arrested over the weekend were simply given tickets and told to appear on their own accord.
“Because there are so many arrests over that weekend, we’ve asked them to cite them into court on various days so you don’t have 150 people trying to show up for city court on a Monday morning,” he said, adding it could take four weeks to navigate everyone through the system.
According to the report issued by excise police, four females were cited for public nudity after they exposed themselves while dancing on poles constructed in the back of pickup trucks that had pulled into the parking lot of a business near the fairgrounds. Also, a 17-year-old female was cited for illegal consumption, public nudity and public intoxication after officers observed her dancing topless on the roof of a bus. A 16-year-old boy and his father were both cited for drinking beer together, according to the report.
Edwards said it’s difficult to estimate how much revenue the tickets and citations are worth to the city. A seat belt infraction costs $25, whereas speeding tickets could be upward of $120, she said.
“So it all depends on how much of each category we received,” she explained. “It is significant.”
Sgt. Joe Watts of the ISP said overall, the event seemed more tame [this year] than in years past.
“On the roadways, we felt we had a better year than last year,” he said, pointing out police and private security were able to contain the event’s participants and keep them off the streets.
But when asked if 65 arrests from one event is high, Watts couldn’t think of another weekend event with equal numbers.
“At the [Indianapolis] 500, we don’t make that many arrests, not at the Brickyard,” he said, pointing out that the Indianapolis Police Department doesn’t typically release those kinds of statistics. In the years he’s worked those races, though, he estimated between 20 and 25 arrests might be made involving participants.
Jennifer Cook, president of the Vigo County Fair Board, emphasized that activities resulting in arrests occurred outside the fairgrounds.
“We didn’t have a lot of major issues,” she said, describing the 2012 Scheid Diesel Extravaganza itself as a “very good, safe event” on the fairgrounds property. What occurs off the fairgrounds, she said, is out of that organization’s control. Meanwhile, the event produced a turnout in the thousands, and while her board of directors will discuss the weekend’s results at their board meeting next month, all signs point to another Scheid Diesel event in 2013.
Marci Bryant, marketing director for Scheid Diesel Service Co., declined to comment further on activities which occurred outside the event venue.
“We already have our space reserved for August 23 through the 25th next year at the fairgrounds,” she said Thursday.
Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TERRE HAUTE —
Weekend citations have strained the Terre Haute city court system.
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