Car show results in chaos at South Lake Tahoe
Special to The Union
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A car enthusiast group had a multi-day event turn ugly over the weekend in South Lake Tahoe, and the organizer said he’s trying to do everything he can to make it up to local residents.
The Lake2o event was planned for Aug. 12 through last Sunday at Stateline, according to the group’s Instagram page, but the meet up sparked outrage as chaos ensued with the crowds that resulted in Montbleu Casino Resort and Spa security reportedly being attacked, among other incidents.
The Lake2o Instagram post informed attendees to wear masks and socially distance. However, based on submitted photos, that did not happen.
The South Lake Tahoe Police Department increased enforcement over the weekend to deal with an influx of visitors. Many of the issues centered around a gathering of car enthusiasts. Officials became aware of the gathering on Thursday and added extra officers to deal with traffic enforcement, excessive trash and unruly participants.
“We understand Tahoe is a place people want to escape during this time, but they have to be respectful of the place we call home,” said Police Chief David Stevenson in a press release.
The event reached its peak on Saturday. Police requested help from other agencies, including the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office and California Highway Patrol.
“We added five extra officers to deal with people and cars,” Lt. Travis Cabral said in the release, “We focused on traffic violations, noise, reckless driving and large gatherings at various local businesses, in addition to the regular summer call volume.”
Officers contacted the social media organizer several times on Saturday. The event organizer decided to cancel any events he had planned Sunday.
In total, officers responded to 525 calls for service over the weekend.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office also had several calls for service involving the Lake2o car show. Between Thursday and Sunday, deputies responded to 208 calls for service, including 25 directly related to the event.
Out of the 208 calls, 25 were related to the Lake2o event. The calls for service ranged from speeding, parking and one DUI arrest. The first call for service was at 1:21 p.m. Thursday, and the last call was at 12:47 a.m. Sunday.
Douglass County deputies also received a report that Montbleu security officers were battered and shoved to the ground during an incident involving people participating in the car show.
Deputies reached out to Montbleu security, and they declined to file an incident report.
Ace’s High Rally Car Show and Drift Series was planned for this weekend at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Lake Tahoe. The event was canceled a week ago due to governor’s orders.
In June, the first Car Show and Drift Series took place. Dreu Murin, the promoter, said the event went well, was compliant with all regulations and was very organized. However, the car group Lake2o came to Tahoe despite the organizers “pulling the plug” on the event.
He said the car community did not attend the meet ups held by the car group, adding that he informed police about the group’s burnout competitions.
“I did not want the car community to be connected to this. We in no way condone that behavior,” Murin said. “We did everything we could to alert (law enforcement). It is a sad day for the car world.”
The Lake2o organizer said that this has been a huge misunderstanding, and he is upset that locals don’t see the whole picture.
The organizer said that he was trying to do the right thing and that there were “a few bad apples that ruined the event.” He also said he’s been getting death threats and is scared to come back to Tahoe again.
The organizer said that he had a crew come to clean up tire marks and have been picking up the mess that was left at Hard Rock and Montbleu.
A special City Council meeting was set for Tuesday to discuss administrative fines for violations of public health orders, lodging capacity limits, usage of city parks and beaches, and environmental impacts on visitation to South Lake Tahoe.
Cheyanne Neuffer is a staff writer for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of The Union.
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