Police respond to massive crowd of youth at Dixie Sugarloaf after dark

ST. GEORGE — Police intervened after a mass of young people descended on the Dixie Sugarloaf late Friday night, climbing around the red rocks in the pitch dark and hindering traffic on Red Hills Parkway.

People leave the Pioneer Park, home of the Dixie Sugarloaf, after police asked them to leave, St. George, Utah, April 7, 2017 | Photo by Austin Peck, St. George News

At around 10:30 p.m., several units from St. George Police Department were dispatched to Pioneer Park in St. George to oversee the evacuation of the park after what appeared to be hundreds of youth gathered in the park well after its closing time.

The park’s relatively small parking lot was packed to the brim with cars and dozens more lined the shoulders of both lanes of traffic on Red Hills Parkway.

Officers dispersed into the park’s geological formations, telling the late night revelers to leave.

“There was hundreds up there, as you can imagine how unsafe that is,” St. George Police Lt. Johnny Heppler said.

See video top of this report.

The majority of the crowd appeared to be in their teens, some seemingly reluctant to obey officer’s orders to leave immediately and requiring stern commands.

“We just wanted to make sure they were all kicked out the park,” Heppler said, “and we’re giving them one chance to get out of here.”

Everyone appeared to have left within about half an hour of the officers’ arrival.

Police report to Pioneer Park to disperse a massive crowd of young people, St. George, Utah, April 7, 2017 | Photo by Austin Peck, St. George News

“No major crimes committed or anything like that,” Heppler said. “We just want to make sure that everybody’s safe and not placing themselves or anybody else in any undue danger. It’s dark, there’s lots of holes, and it’s dangerous.”

The potential danger was twofold with youth running between lanes of traffic on Red Hills Parkway, which has a relatively high speed limit in the area and includes a curve in the road just east of the park’s parking lot.

Heppler said police have reported to the area several times on similar reports in recent weeks as spring break season seems to have brought a large amount of youth to the area.

Why so many teens all ended up in the same place was unknown, but police suspect social media may have been used to organize the gathering.

Although no citations were issued this time, if it continues to be a problem, that may change, Heppler said.

Police on hand reminded the park goers that curfew is enforced for minors who must be indoors by midnight. The park is also closed to visitors after dark.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • wilbur April 8, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Good thing they were kicked out; there might have been dancing or something.

    • mesaman April 8, 2017 at 8:23 pm

      We are fortunate to have someone who can dissect a problem and offer an explanation of such intensive thought.

    • Henry April 8, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      Climbing on rock formations and near cliffs, in the dark – what could go wrong?

  • NickDanger April 8, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Excellent job by the SGPD to alleviate a potentially dangerous situation without issuing citations or arresting anyone. This is police work at its finest. There is no reason to damage or ruin young lives over a bit of (what the young people consider) harmless fun, and I think our police understand that. It makes me proud to live in this community.

  • old school April 9, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Whatever you do, don’t up set the “money paying” tourists!!!!

  • utahdiablo April 9, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    “Stern Commands”….Pepper Spray and Taser’s work well too…time to pay for more Police to control these “Tourits”….and don’t forget the State Motto….Anything for a Buck!

  • xbcmc059 April 9, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Where was SWAT?

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