Police shut down Halloween party near Utah Lake

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Thousands of people attended a Halloween party at the Knolls near Utah Lake on Saturday night before authorities shut the event down at around 10 p.m.

According to Utah County Sherriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon, deputies found “thousands” of people gathered near the western shores of Utah Lake after responding to a call about a woman who had hit her head while crowd-surfing, temporarily knocking her unconscious. Cannon said authorities originally planned to transport the woman to the hospital via helicopter but later decided to use an ambulance instead.

Cannon described the gathering as a “fairly formal event” with a stage, lights, loud-speakers and DJs. Total attendance estimates from those who were there ranged between 2,000 and 10,000.

Cannon said the event organizers were cooperative with police after being told to shut things down. According to Cannon, criminal charges would be considered against the organizers for holding a mass gathering without a permit.

Cannon also mentioned that several car crashes occurred as people began to leave the area, prompting Utah Highway Patrol and Saratoga Springs Police officers to arrive on scene. Although Cannon said nobody was seriously injured in the crashes, one social media video appeared to show a car almost entirely on top of another.

Additional social media posts from the gathering reposted on Instagram by The Tribe Utah and Utah Tonight showed the event’s set up, with thousands of people dancing close together.

One video appeared to show a series of digital graphics that read “Protest on Halloween.” Both The Tribe Utah and Utah Tonight had been advertising an event called “The Protest on Halloween” for weeks before Utah Tonight announced it was canceling the event on Oct. 26.

“It is with a heavy heart that we have made the difficult, but necessary, decision to cancel the Protest on Halloween this Saturday,” Utah Tonight wrote in an Oct. 26 social media post. “The Utah Tonight team has fought tirelessly to provide individuals with an evening of normalcy and enjoyment during this year of uncertainty. While there are thousands who have already committed to attend this event, we must acknowledge that even following every known guideline to combat COVID-19 would be insufficient for some.”

When asked about the planned gathering in early October, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said such an event was “impermissible” under the current COVID-19 safety regulations.

“We call upon all Utahns to be responsible and abide by state and county rules and guidelines for gatherings,” Herbert told reporters. “An event such as this one is impermissible under the current rules. We expect local authorities to vigorously enforce flagrant violations of health orders.”

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