Amherst police use pepper spray to disperse Hobart Lane party attended by thousands

  • Flashing police lights

Staff Writer
Published: 9/19/2016 11:57:24 AM

AMHERST — For the third consecutive weekend, Hobart Lane was the site of a large party, with a crowd Amherst Police estimated at more than 2,000 people.

A few partygoers were struck in the head by thrown beer bottles and cans, police said.

Detective Michael Forcum said nine police officers responded to the street north of the University of Massachusetts campus at 11:44 p.m. Friday as hundreds of college-age people were seen walking to and being dropped off at the location.

As police arrived, several people were seen throwing beer bottles and cans at each other and responding officers, and even though at least three people were struck in the head by these objects, no one needed medical attention, Forcum said.

Police used three bursts of pepper spray to disperse the crowd, which was cleared by 12:28 a.m., Forcum said.

At 12:59 a.m. Sunday, police went back to Hobart Lane after reports that two men were covered in blood after getting into a fight. The men were not found, but 500 people hanging out on the road were sent on their way.

The incidents at Hobart Lane were among 265 calls for service during the weekend, that also included other parties, liquor law violations and fights.

One fight took place in front of the downtown bars at 12:33 a.m. Saturday.

Isabella Caroline O’Connor, 20, of 320 North Pleasant St., was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct, while a 21-year-old Sudbury woman will be summoned to court on the same charge, Forcum said.

At 1:16 a.m. Saturday, a man was punched outside the downtown bars and fell to the ground, but his assailant was not identified.

Meanwhile, six officers were assigned to the tailgating event prior to the UMass football game at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. Beginning at 3:14 p.m. Saturday, those people who were not attending the game began returning to their dormitories or off-campus homes, and police monitored streets for liquor law violations.

Early Sunday morning, a party on Cowls Road was broken up, with more than 200 people found in the parking lot of the Trolley Barn at 12:01 a.m. At  12:38 a.m., police took a report of  mailboxes damaged on Montague Road.

At 2:16 a.m. Sunday police were called to Puffton Village by a woman who said a shirtless man got into her apartment twice overnight. The woman said she wasn’t concerned for her welfare, but rather was worried the man might be cold after he fled. Police located the man, who was in company of a sober friend and being escorted back to his home.

A total of 19 individuals were arrested or summoned to court for liquor law violations during the weekend. Police also broke up parties on Summer Street, Montague Road, Northampton Road and South Whitney Street.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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