Police Call Reinforcements to Handle Rally - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Hardin County, IL

Police Call Reinforcements to Handle Rally

Police Call Reinforcements to Handle Rally
By: Arnold Wyrick

HARDIN COUNTY, IL -- The Hog Rock festival, in Hardin County, draws thousands of people each year. But police say this year has been the worst, compared to the past 8 years.

"Several traffic offenses. Tickets for illegal transportation of alcohol, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana. We've had a domestic battery last night. And a sexual assault on Thursday night," says Chief Deputy Bill Stark.

"We've been very, very busy."

Busy might be an understatement when one sees the stack of tickets and citations sitting on the Chief Deputy's desk.

"We're lucky if we write a 175 tickets in a year. So this is a years worth of work in a weekend," Chief Deputy Stark said.

Stark says all of the violations stem from the biker enthusiasts who have gathered at Hog Rock Festival.

"You cannot throw five, six, seven thousand people in a confined area, ply them with an unlimited amount of alcohol and whatever else. And not expect some kinds of problems," Stark said.

Police weren't the only ones who ran into trouble with some of the bikers, so did emergency workers.

"Last night we had a lady who was injured. She had a spinal injury. And their staff placed her on the back of a four wheeler, and transported her about a quarter of a mile to the gate. To keep us from coming in," says Cave-in-Rock Fire Chief Brad Dutton.

And if that wasn't disturbing enough, Chief Dutton says no one at the festival was medically qualified to provide medical care.

"Their medical staff doesn't even have their credentials. At least 2 of the people we talked to had no medical training what-so-ever," Chief Dutton said.

So police called in Illinois State Troopers, Illinois Conservation Police, and U.S. Forest Service Rangers to assist in patrolling all of the activity around the festival.

"We had coordinated things with the District Commander's in Ullin, and Carmi, before the event. And I tell you, I don't know what we would've done without them. We're a small department here. This was a lot more then a small Sheriff's Department can handle," Chief Deputy Stark said.

Now all of the violations, citations, and arrests will be sorted out by the Hardin County State's Attorney's Office, and the Circuit Clerk's Office.

"There's only 2 people in the State's Attorney's office, and four in the clerk's. This is more then they can process in a day or two. It's just overwhelming to everyone," Stark said.

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