Police in riot gear swept through one hotel in this desert resort when the West’s version of spring break revelry, already marred by hundreds of arrests, began to turn rowdier this weekend.
“We’ve got a lot of fights--a lot of drinkers,” Police Sgt. Tom Barton said.
About 20 officers were sent to The Dunes Hotel late Friday after young people began fighting, breaking windows and throwing trash, authorities said. The officers told people not registered there to leave.
One young woman was critically injured early Saturday when she fell from a second-story hotel balcony onto asphalt, police said. Witnesses told police she had been drinking.
But the huge spring break crowd was generally peaceful, police said.
Police said they had been prepared for things to heat up on Good Friday, which is traditionally the busiest--and rowdiest--day of the weeklong celebration.
“This is really the critical night,” Police Lt. Lee Weigel said Friday. “It won’t get any bigger than this.”
It was on Good Friday, 1986, that young people threw rocks and bottles and tore clothes off women. Since then, local police have beefed up their forces with Riverside County sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers.
Weigel, who has observed more than 30 such celebrations in this city 90 miles east of Los Angeles, said this year’s Good Friday crowd was the largest he could remember.
“Kids that are just getting out of school are coming down here, and they’re ready to party,” he said.
Arrests Reach 1,218
Arrests in the desert resort during the week reached 1,218 and officers had handed out 4,742 citations, police clerk Lynette Detz said Saturday. About 80% of the arrests were alcohol-related, Weigel said.
Thousands of people cruised city streets, creating traffic jams that backed up into the desert.
Several female cruisers clad in bikinis bared their breasts and bottoms to the cheers of males. One 14-year-old girl was arrested for investigation of indecent exposure.
“There are some female flashers,” Weigel said.