News

St. Paddy's student mob swamps neighbourhood

By Grant LaFleche, The Standard

It was like something out of a horror movie.

Jen Loney was trying to drive home from the Pen Centre Friday afternoon when her car was swamped by an unruly mob. They pounded on the car. Threw snowballs at it. They shouted obscenities at her, and would not allow her to drive on her way.

“It was disgusting,” said Loney. “I had my baby in the back, so I had to keep my cool. We were completely surrounded. They were banging on the car, shouting ‘F--k you, you stupid, b---h.’ I am still not sleeping right because I still have visions of what happened.”

Loney was one of many people who called police Friday afternoon after a St. Patrick’s Day street party on Jacobson Avenue near the mall got out of control.

When Niagara Regional Police officers arrived to clear the street, partygoers threw beer cans and snowballs at them.

The area is home to several Brock University student residences. Police estimate some 3,500 young people were part of the street and lawn parties that featured students partying on rooftops of houses.

Police said the area was cleared at about 7:30 p.m. No charges have been laid, although police are still investigating.

Loney said she didn’t know the party was happening when she left the mall. When she was blocked by the throng of people, she couldn’t turn around because there was a line of traffic behind her.

The revellers had completely blocked Jacobson Avenue and refused to let cars pass, she said.

“They were spitting on my car,” she said. “I have never seen anything like it. My husband is a Brock alumni. His parents are alumni. This is really awful. The students, the police and Brock need to take a stand because this shouldn’t happen in this community.”

She said the mob only let her car inch its away through when some women noticed Loney had a baby in the car. Even then, she said, she could only drive at about 4 km/h and people were still banging on her car and throwing things.

“I had to lay on my horn but they just would not get out of the way,” she said.

She said several other cars were behind her. She called police, and dispatchers said officers were on their way, but the street was so packed, no one could get through.

Brock University issued a statement Saturday condemning the street parties.

“The university is aware of the situation and is fully co-operating with the investigation by the NRPS,” the statement said.

“In addition, a group of student and staff volunteers went to the area Saturday morning to assist cleaning up garbage left on the street from the unfortunate action of some students.”

The university said that leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, staff canvassed the area to remind students about being “responsible citizens, and to hand out garbage bags and tags, responsible drinking guides, taxi numbers and other information.”

In the statement, the director of student life and communications for Brock University Student’s' Union, Curtis Gadula, apologized to the community on behalf of the student body. 



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