Police Beat: Special Lepre-con edition
Fewer arrests, several scary incidents
by Dean DeChiaro
Reporter staff writer
Mar 09, 2014 | 3987 views | 0 0 comments | 63 63 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LUCK OF THE HOBOKENITES – A tamer than usual LepreCon in Hoboken resulted in fewer arrests than in recent years, but some revelers still managed to get into big trouble. Pictured: Saturday afternoon.
LUCK OF THE HOBOKENITES – A tamer than usual LepreCon in Hoboken resulted in fewer arrests than in recent years, but some revelers still managed to get into big trouble. Pictured: Saturday afternoon.

Historically one of Hoboken’s most raucous days, the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration resulted in fewer arrests and ambulance calls than in recent years, according to data released by the city on Monday. But revelers from around the Tri-State area still managed to have their fun and ruin it too, as one man ended up thrown in Hudson River – a predicament many fail to survive. Another person pulled a urinal out of a pub’s bathroom wall, and a third was arrested for pushing the EMT who was treating his friend.

On Saturday, when two popular bar crawls (both known as LepreCon) and many house parties took over the city, the city recorded 15 arrests, 51 ambulance calls, 63 ordinance violations and 288 police calls for service.

Since 2011, the final year that the city allowed the St. Patrick’s Parade to be held on a Saturday, arrests have fallen 56 percent (from 34), ambulance calls have fallen 63 percent (from 136), ordinance violations are down 78 percent (from 292), and police calls are down 45 percent (from 525), officials say.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer refused to permit the St. Patrick’s Day to continue on Saturday after 2011 on the grounds that it constituted a significant public safety risk. Bar crawls like LepreCon, which the city cannot regulate, replaced the parade. Zimmer did offer parade organizers the chance to hold the event on a weeknight in the hopes that it would attract fewer partygoers, but the private St. Patrick’s Parade Committee refused, resulting in an ongoing standstill.

On Monday Zimmer attributed the decrease in crime to a police strategy of containing the bar crawl festivities largely to the southeast part of town, near the train station.

“In prior years when there was a parade, it was a citywide challenge to keep order, but now that activity is concentrated in the southeast area of town, it is a much more manageable situation,” she said in a statement.

Manageable? Sure, but still wacky. Check out some of the weekend’s stranger police reports.

Life-threatening incident in Hudson River

A Wharton, N.J. man who told police he was thrown in the Hudson River early Sunday morning was treated for hypothermia and lacerations after emergency service teams dragged him to dry land, according to a police report.

The man, who was visiting friends from high school for Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities, was found by three passersby just south of Pier C Park around 2 a.m. on Sunday morning, the report said. The witnesses said they originally reported hearing yelling but thought nothing of it until they realized the cries were for help, and they followed them to the source.

The man was clinging to a metal pylon in the water near Pier C when police arrived on the scene, the report said. While multiple officers climbed the locked gate onto Pier C, others went to find a bolt-cutter. Fire and ambulance services were requested, and the NYPD Harbor Patrol was notified of the situation.

Once police were able to drag the man toward the pier with a rope and lift him out of the water, he was immediately transported to Hoboken University Medical Center, where he was treated for hypothermia and cuts to his nose and arms. Once he’d warmed up, he told police that he had left a waterfront bar and was walking north on Sinatra Drive when three men in black approached him and without warning threw him in the river, according to the report.

Police then struggled to find the man’s brother, girlfriend and friends, who were staying at various Hoboken residences. Eventually the brother was found and brought to the hospital, while the rest of the group was located.

$1,590 bathroom mishap

A St. Patrick’s Day reveler probably spent more money than he planned on last Saturday after he was forced to reimburse a downtown pub owner for the urinal he admitted to pulling out of the wall, causing considerable damage to the bar’s plumbing, according to a police report.

Around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, police responded to a report of criminal mischief at a River Street establishment and met the owner and the alleged urinal-destroyer when they arrived on the scene. According to the owner, the man was the only one in the bathroom at the time, and the police report noted that an officer noticed a fresh cut on his right hand.

Police advised the man that he could either be arrested for criminal mischief, or he could pay restitution to the owner up front. He chose restitution and paid the bar $1,590 via a credit card, the report said. Police advised him that if the credit card payment failed or was cancelled, he would receive a summons in the mail.

Shoving the hand that heals you

A Hoboken man was charged with simple assault on Saturday after allegedly repeatedly shoving an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) who was attempting to give his friend medical attention, according to a police report.

Eric Otterbein, 24, was charged with aggravated assault of an EMT performing her duties, the report said.

Police arrested Otterbein after being called to Third and Bloomfield streets to assist an ambulance team assisting an allegedly intoxicated man. When the EMTs arrived on scene, the intoxicated man was without a coat, had cuts on his forehead and arms, and had vomit on his chest, according to police.

He was with several friends, all of whom were allegedly intoxicated, the report said.

As one of the EMTs, a female, began helping the injured man into the ambulance, several of the friends attempted to intervene and Otterbein allegedly began pushing the EMT in the chest, prompting her to call police.

Otterbein’s friends were not charged, and the EMT did not require medical attention.

Dean DeChiaro may be reached at deand@hudsonreporter.com

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