OCEAN CITY, Md. — A yr after Ocean Metropolis Mayor Rick Meehan vowed the chaos of the H2Oi pop-up automobile rally would not return, officers laid out their plan to maintain this yr’s occasion below management.
For the previous a number of years, 1000’s of automobile fans have flooded Ocean Metropolis in late September. The official H2Oi automobile present left the resort years in the past after bother controlling crowds, however fans, who talk over social media, proceed to collect. What unfolds are a number of days full of reckless driving, burnouts and drag racing — all on public streets.
After the 2019 occasion ended, Meehan mentioned: “What passed off this weekend in Ocean Metropolis can by no means occur once more.”
To attain that purpose, the city of Ocean Metropolis unveiled a number of new approaches Thursday that it hopes will minimize down on a few of the reckless habits.
Ocean Metropolis Police Chief Ross Buzzuro went by way of the brand new initiatives that embody including extra police and growing penalties.
“If you happen to actually do not have enterprise on the town, you do not must be on the town,” Buzzuro mentioned. “You might wish to keep away from Coastal Freeway as a result of visitors goes to be troublesome to traverse all through these interval of days.”
This is what it is advisable to learn about Ocean Metropolis’s plan:
Tons of of police will probably be on the town
Between Sept. 22-26 there will probably be a number of hundred cops and regulation enforcement in Ocean Metropolis to take care of order throughout the pop-up automobile rally, Buzzuro mentioned.
The newly enacted special event zone law, handed by the Maryland Normal Meeting within the spring, will probably be in place, Buzzuro mentioned. It contains heightened fines and potential jail time for exhibition driving, and police will probably be ready to arrest people for “egregious violations.”
“If you happen to have a look on YouTube or social media, it does not take lengthy to see a few of the exercise that rises to the phrase egregious, and we plan to make arrests in these conditions,” Buzzuro mentioned.
The Ocean Metropolis Police Division, Worcester County Sheriff’s Division and Maryland State Police will probably be in Ocean Metropolis or West Ocean Metropolis throughout the pop-up automobile rally.
Members of the Queen Anne’s and Wicomico county sheriff’s workplaces, Maryland Pure Assets Police and different regulation enforcement companies will help Ocean Metropolis this yr, Buzzuro mentioned.
On the state aspect, Maryland State Police will deploy state troopers from 5 totally different barracks throughout the state, mentioned Lt. Earl Starner.
“In my 13 years it is most likely with out query the most important deployment of troopers to the city that we have now had,” Starner mentioned.
Count on ‘disruptive’ visitors sample shifts
Police warn that driving all through Ocean Metropolis between Sept. 22-26 will probably be troublesome as a result of officers plan to alter visitors patterns all through the city.
OCPD did not supply particular particulars on how visitors patterns would change, nevertheless it might embody visitors redirection or different maneuvers, Buzzuro mentioned.
The tactic will probably be utilized in “drawback areas, congested areas or areas the place we’re having issue with peace and dysfunction,” Buzzuro mentioned.
“We emphasize that the week of Sept. 22 and right through the weekend of Sept. 26, there are going to be main disruptions to visitors,” Buzzuro mentioned. “It isn’t going to be snug touring by way of Ocean Metropolis, particularly throughout that weekend.”
The city will add velocity bumps all through Ocean Metropolis as one other measure to maintain management, Buzzuro mentioned. The chief did not present particulars of the place these velocity bumps could be deployed, merely saying they are going to be “strategically positioned.”
Ocean Metropolis to ramp up towing, penalties
Ocean Metropolis plans to introduce and move an enhanced towing ordinance to offer OCPD extra energy forward of the pop-up automobile rally.
The ordinance, in accordance with Buzzuro, will give OCPD extra energy in the way it tows a automobile and the way a lot the division prices.
In regular circumstances if somebody’s automobile is impounded by police, the proprietor should come to the impound lot with documentation to get their automobile again, Buzzuro mentioned.
Underneath the city’s new ordinance, if that automobile is deemed unsafe, the proprietor will should pay to get their automobile towed out of the impound lot, which is able to value extra, Buzzuro mentioned.
“The method through which we’re exercising tows and the way we will probably be towing autos is a departure from how we have completed issues prior to now,” Buzzuro mentioned. “It will be a higher, extra environment friendly method for the needs of this upcoming occasion.”
OCPD has actively recruited tow corporations to work with the city and greater than 30 corporations are scheduled to be on name throughout the occasion, Buzzuro mentioned. The city has additionally expanded its impound lot to deal with extra vehicles.
Particular occasion zone adjustments clamp down
The Maryland Normal Meeting handed a wider and strengthened model of the state’s particular occasion zone regulation.
Prior laws on particular occasion zones solely handled extreme rushing, however below the brand new regulation, folks will probably be prohibited from exhibition driving whereas in a particular occasion zone, in accordance with the law. The regulation considers exhibition driving to be:
- Extreme or abrupt acceleration or deceleration.
- Skidding, squealing, burning or smoking tires.
- Swerving or swaying a automobile.
- Producing an unreasonably loud engine noise.
- Grinding gears.
- Wheels shedding contact with the bottom.
- Transporting a passenger on the hood or roof.
Underneath the brand new regulation, an individual may be arrested and sentenced to as much as 60 days in jail and/or $1,000 high-quality, in accordance with the regulation.
The brand new regulation was sponsored by Sen. Mary Beth Carozza, who represents Worcester County. Ocean Metropolis officers lobbied for the expanded regulation after greater than 1,500 citations have been handed and 121 folks have been arrested throughout the pop-up automobile rally in 2019.