Halloween weekend yields an increase in emergency calls

Kelly Maile

Halloween weekend is one of the most memorable pastimes to celebrate in Kent. It’s a time for students to dress up in ridiculous costumes and drink excessive amounts of alcohol. This year, it was also a time for students to go to the hospital.

Andrea Pettit, marketing and public relations coordinator at Robinson Memorial Hospital, said there were 83 emergency room visits on Halloween in Kent. EMS and Kent Fire Department alone answered 36 calls in a 24-hour time period.

“The majority of them were ambulance calls to take people to the hospital,” said Interim Chief Dave Manthey of the Kent Fire Department. “There were quite a few that went back. I’d say 90 percent of the med calls that we went out on were transports to the hospital.”

Manthey describes Halloween in Kent as eight hours of total chaos.

“There were a couple of points during the evening where I was the only one here in the station, so guys were out and about,” Manthey said. “We had units running back and forth all night. Then we got a few calls the next day when people finally woke up and said I have to go to the hospital.”

The Kent Fire Department brought additional personnel from five different communities — Mantua-Shalersville, Randolph, Brimfield, Suffield and Rootstown — to help in the chaos.

“Our personnel would just be overwhelmed with that,” Manthey said. “Once it starts rolling here, it’s pretty constant throughout the night.”

Compared to a normal night on the job, officers can count on doubling or tripling the amount of calls they respond to.

“I’m waiting for that Halloween where we only have one ambulance call, but that’s just not going to happen,” Manthey said. “Our guys stay pretty busy on a regular basis. We can run anywhere from ten to 15 calls in a 24-hour shift, but Halloween generally doubles a normal night for us.”

The two most common categories of calls that night were for intoxication and assault.

“We had a structure on fire off Lincoln Street, and then we always get a dumpster or two that somehow spontaneously combusts,” Manthey said. “But most of our calls were for assaults. People like to get drunk and fight, and it ends with a ride to the hospital.”

Halloween celebrations span the entire city of Kent, from downtown to side streets like Lincoln, University and Willow streets.

On Halloween, Lt. James Prusha of the Kent Police Department worked Main Street between Depeyster and Willow streets.

The Kent Police Department responded to a total of 111 calls that night, many of which were also transport calls.

“We called in a lot of transport calls to drive a prisoner back to the police department. We had three large prisoner transport vans just for Halloween,” Prusha said. “We also would come across people who were injured or sick and needed an ambulance or a squad transport.”

Prusha remembers hearing on the radio two different pedestrian accidents that required ambulance transport. However, most of his calls were to break up fights.

“Later in the evening, as it got to the a.m. hours, there were a lot of fights,” Prusha said. “There’s always a lot of fights on Halloween after everyone drinking so much, but it seemed like it might have been more this year. We must have broke up about ten to 12 fights just in my area.”

Although most people were charged with underage drinking on Halloween, six people were charged with disorderly conduct.

“We had 25 calls for disorderly conduct,” Prusha said. “Which was mostly fighting or someone yelling, trying to start a fight. Sometimes we’d get those calls and find that the person causing the problem was underage drinking.”

Kent campus police also had to respond to a number of transport calls.

“On nights like Halloween, there typically tends to be an increase in calls,” said Officer Michquel Penn with the Kent State University Police Department. “What’s interesting is that last year, there were six calls for a squad request and few of them were alcohol related. This year, there were seven calls and all but one was alcohol related.”

Penn said Kent’s Halloween seemed to disrupt Kent’s usually quiet campus. Last Saturday and Sunday combined, there were only three calls made to the KSU Police Department.

“Halloweens are usually extremely busy and hectic for us and the Kent Fire Department, and this year was no exception,” Prusha said. “It’s one of those days where nobody has off.”

Contact Kelly Maile at [email protected].