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.
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.
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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.
“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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