The Fourth of July weekend, off to a quiet start with festivities dampened by heavy rain and winds, was relatively quiet for police, but busy for the Steamship Authority.
The holiday weekend began with wind and rain associated with Hurricane Arthur, which passed by the Island Friday night. Parts of Edgartown lost power Friday night as high winds and heavy rain lashed the Island; the National Weather Service Cooperative Station in Edgartown recorded 1.38 inches during the storm. Leaves and tree branches littered Island streets Saturday morning.
Because of the storm, the Steamship Authority canceled the last four ferries in each direction Friday night. A tour group of about 160 people was stranded at the Vineyard Haven ferry terminal, Tisbury police Lieut. Eerik Meisner said.
Lieutenant Meisner, who is also the town emergency management director, said he helped orchestrate a plan to house visitors for the night. Tisbury and Oak Bluffs opened emergency shelters at the town elementary schools, with 76 people staying at the Oak Bluffs School and 84 people staying at the Tisbury School. Transportation was provided by the Vineyard Transit Authority, and staffing was provided by the American Red Cross, he said.
In the morning, the VTA drove the stranded visitors from Oak Bluffs back to the terminal, and those staying at the Tisbury School walked down to the dock.
“We had talked to the escorts earlier in the day to caution them that there was a hurricane coming up the coast, but they decided to stay,” Steamship Authority general manager Wayne Lamson told the Gazette Monday. “They were going to take the last boat back.”
He said it was the first time he could remember a large group of visitors getting stuck on the Island.
“Almost everybody knew that there was a hurricane coming up and that it was going to hit around Friday night,” Mr. Lamson said.
While hard data was not yet available, Mr. Lamson said the holiday weekend had been very busy.
During the weekend, cars filled Palmer, Gifford, Sun, Cataumet and high school lots as well as an overflow lot at the site of the new Falmouth ice arena, where a new parking lot will be built this year. Together, the existing lots can fit about 4,000 vehicles.
No cars were turned away from the parking lots, Mr. Lamson said, as the SSA began backfilling the lots as vehicles left on Saturday.
On Sunday some travelers had to wait at the terminal in Woods Hole for a parking shuttle as the buses struggled to accommodate the massive numbers of passengers leaving the Island, Mr. Lamson said.
While the Steamship Authority reported a busy weekend, local police said they responded to relatively few incidents.
Tisbury was fairly quiet, Lieutenant Meisner said, adding that no arrests were made, but a summons for an assault was issued and several summonses were issued for unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. Police also reported a number of fender benders that occurred in parking lots.
Oak Bluffs also reported no major infractions over the weekend. A brief vehicle and foot pursuit around Dukes County avenue at about 1:30 p.m. on July 4 was the most noteworthy arrest in Oak Bluffs for the holiday weekend, Lieut. Timothy Williams said. Officers arrested Leandro Miranda, 23, of Edgartown and charged him with drunken driving, failure to stop for police, resisting arrest, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended registration, destruction of property under $250, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and a marked lanes violation. “It was in the middle of the afternoon and people were on bikes, mopeds, walking, jogging . . . it was just a very dangerous situation. Fortunately, it ended abruptly,” Lieutenant Williamson told the Gazette Monday by telephone.
Seven other arrests occurred over the weekend in Oak Bluffs. Charges included assault and battery, minors possessing alcohol, shoplifting, possession of a class B drug, assault and battery and an arrest for an outstanding warrant.
Edgartown police received a handful of noise complaints, placed nine people in protective custody, and made one arrest for drunken driving over the weekend. “Compared to last year it was not as busy. It was quieter," Sgt. Craig Edwards said. “Even at the bar closing after the parade and fireworks there were less people. People didn’t linger like they have in the past. A lot of people just got in cabs and left when the bars got out.”
In West Tisbury it was a similar story. Police responded to two motor vehicle accidents, one on July 5 at 4 a.m. for a taxi cab without passengers that ran off North Road. Police cited the driver for a marked lanes violation. The other accident occurred the following day at 12:50 a.m. on Lambert’s Cove Road. The driver of that car was transported to the hospital and police issued a summons to the driver for drunken driving. No major injuries were reported for either accident.
“It was no different than any other weekend in the summer,” said Sgt. Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter.