Olympia -Target Zero's Party Intervention Patrol busted a large underage drinking party in Yelm last Saturday night. More than 60 current and former students of Yelm High School were at the party, which was a birthday/graduation party for the homeowner's son and his friends. Evidence of beer and hard alcohol use was scattered throughout the residence, including a keg and drinking games set up in the back yard. The party was located because a neighbor called 9-1-1 to notify police of the loud party. -30-
Of the partygoers who had consumed alcohol, 7 were juveniles ages 16-17, and 26 were ages 18-20. One 19-year-old had the highest blood alcohol level at .174 - more than double the legal limit for an of-age adult to drive. Also arrested were the two people who supplied the location and alcohol for the party: the homeowner, a 45-year-old mother of one of the youth arrested, as well as the 21-year-old male that purchased the keg. In total, 35 arrests were made at this party. "There is no doubt that some of these kids were going to drive home that night", said Thurston County Target Zero Manager, Jerry Noviello. Cars completely lined the street around the cul-de-sac leading back to the residence.
All of the 33 kids arrested at the party were taken to the Public Health and Social Services office in Olympia, where they met one-on-one with a licensed Chemical Dependency Professional (CDP). "This is the key component of this project", said Noviello. "It is what separates the Party Intervention Patrol model from the normal model of processing an underage drinking party. Each youth that meets with a CDP is briefly evaluated for level of abuse and dependency. Our counselors are able to utilize this information to tailor their conversations with each youth, to help them recognize the dangers in their current behavior, and hopefully encourage them to make healthier decisions in the future." In addition to youth having the opportunity to speak with a counselor, parents do as well.
The Party Intervention Patrol is a multiagency effort comprised of Prosecuting Attorney's Office, local, state, and county law enforcement, Public Health and Social Services, and ESD 113. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission funds this project, because it specifically targets young drivers, who are at an increased risk of being involved in a dangerous crash.