Oak Bluffs police last Friday broke up a party on Grovedale Road attended by more than a dozen underage guests and charged the host with illegally providing alcohol to minors.
Matthew P. Lyons, 24, was charged with selling or delivering liquor to a person under the age of 21. He was arraigned in Edgartown District Court on Monday and released on $100 bail.
Lieut. Timothy Williamson said police responded to a series of noise complaints at 27 Grovedale Road just before midnight. Upon arrival they found 15 teenagers and two adults, along with several large bottles of liquor and six 30-packs of Coors Light beer.
Lieutenant Williamson said police had received numerous complaints that the people renting the house were hosting parties with alcohol attended by high school students and other underage guests. Police believe there may have been a series of parties at the location in recent months, he said.
When police arrived Friday they looked in a window and saw several young people drinking, Lieutenant Williamson said. When they entered the home some of the guests tried to hide but were later discovered. Police found plastic cups and empty cans were strewn all over the house, as well as numerous clues of drinking games like playing cards and Ping-Pong balls.
Portable breathalyzer tests were given to all underage guests which revealed each was intoxicated to some degree, Mr. Williamson said. The breathalyzer scores ranged from between .06 and .12 blood alcohol content.
Under state law, anyone under the age of 21 faces penalties if they are caught driving having over a .02 blood alcohol limit.
Lieutenant Williamson noted that there were several cars parked outside of the party, and the timing of the bust likely prevented some underage drivers from driving home intoxicated.
“It was just before many of these kids’ curfews kicked in . . . the timing was just right,” he said.
Lieutenant Williamson said all the underage guests cooperated with police and were respectful. Mr. Lyons, however, was not so congenial, he said.
Police decided not to press charges against any of the underage guests, and instead got in touch with their parents and arranged for them to pick up their sons and daughters.
“Our policy when it comes to juveniles is to use the least punitive measures possible. Our biggest priority [on Friday] was getting those kids home safe. We felt calling the parents and making them aware of the situation was punishment enough,” Lieutenant Williamson said.
Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Principal Margaret (Peg) Regan said police handled the situation well.
“They considered the circumstances and got the parents involved. I haven’t heard a lot rumors or talk [around the school] that anyone was mistreated; so it seems these young people realized they were given a break,” she said, adding: “They may have learned a lesson, too.”