NASELLE - Pacific County Sheriff's Office deputies, assisted by Washington State Patrol troopers, broke up a large under-age drinking party Saturday shortly after midnight at Radar Lakes, in the hills above Naselle.
The officers responded after receiving an anonymous report of juveniles drinking.
After they arrived, the law-enforcement officers found "numerous young persons who appeared to be under the influence of intoxicants," according to a press release from the sheriff's office. Sixteen juveniles and eight participants aged 18 and 19 were arrested for being minors in possession of intoxicants and were transported to Pacific County Jail for a medical check and booking. The juveniles were released to a responsible adult or their parents. The 18- and 19-year-olds were booked.
PCSO Chief Criminal Deputy Ron Clark said intoxicated people are routinely tested for signs of alcohol poisoning. Clark added that PCSO will investigate all reports of juvenile drinking parties.
"We take this seriously," he said. "They are a risk to themselves and others. If they violate the law we will arrest them for their safety and the safety of the public. Our biggest responsibility is to ensure public safety." The road to the lakes is very steep and is unlighted with minimal guardrails.
People who were 18 or older who were booked at the jail included Tyson Dykes, 18, Long Beach; Christopher Cook, 18, Naselle; Joel Wirkkala, 19, Naselle; Richard Beck, 19, Seaview; Gene Wright, 18, Chinook; Cole Dumbauld, 18, Ocean Park; Ryan Chatfield, 18, Ilwaco; and Walter Blake, 18, Ocean Park.
Clark said there had been numerous incidents of vandalism at the lakeside park, which is maintained by the state Department of Natural Resources, in the past.
After law enforcement officers left the scene, Clark said, vehicles belonging to people at the party were damaged and items removed from them. "There are lots of consequences to bad judgment," he said.
In other news, Clark also said that a small helicopter reported having fuel problems shortly after 6 p.m. Saturday and had landed on a logging road in the Sage Creek area near the Lewis, Pacific and Wahkiakum county border, about 12 miles directly north of Skamokawa.
The two people in the helicopter radioed for help and gave their position to Pacific County and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife law enforcement officers who arrived at the scene and picked them up. They were not injured.
Clark also reported that three burglaries had been reported to his office, two in the Ocean Park area and one at the golf course.