No major cruise problems for Salem cops

SALEM – Salem police recorded an increased number of calls and arrests during the Super Cruise extended weekend between Thursday and Sunday, but Chief J.T. Panezott said there were no major incidents related to the event.

“Other than minor traffic infractions, people were pretty well-behaved,” he said Monday.

According to the numbers, members of the department arrested or cited 58 people for 69 separate offenses between June 19 and 22 and handled 176 calls for complaints or service. During the same time frame the week before, between June 12 and 15, the department recorded six arrests/citations and handled 109 calls.

Panezott said the rain on Friday night made an impact on the crowd. He had 20 officers out each night (except Friday when some were let go early due to the weather and a smaller crowd), with five in vehicles to answer calls and the other 15 to watch over the Super Cruise crowd. He said there’s no way to count all those people, but estimated at least 20,000 on Saturday.

Police handed out 19 speeding tickets, 10 citations for peeling tires, six each for underage consumption and excessive smoke and four each for operating a vehicle under the influence and open container. There were two citations each for disorderly conduct, driving under suspension, possession of marijuana and delinquency and three citations for reckless operation.

Single citations were issued for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, a warrant, a red light violation, failure to yield, stop sign violation, domestic violence, possession of methamphetamine, no license and expired registration.

“They tended to want to use the overpass as a dragstrip,” he said.

A couple of cars were stopped for speeding while allegedly racing on the overpass. Charges of speeding and reckless operation were issued against one driver who was clocked at 73 mph in a 25 mph zone. One motorcyclist accelerated away from a police cruiser on East State Street, clocked at 68 mph in a 25 mph zone, and sped out of the city with police suspending the chase at Walmart.

Excessive smoke blowing from some of the vehicles also posed a problem for police. “We were getting calls from business about the excessive smoke blowing into their shops,” Panezott said.

Overall, he commented that the cruise was a “huge success.”

He was still working on calculating the number of hours police worked in order to figure out the cost.