Ocean City Today

Police dept. ‘know what to expect’ for H2Oi weekend

By Katie Tabeling | Sep 28, 2017
Courtesy of: H2Oi 2017 Facebook page Despite the H2Oi car show being postponed, several car enthusiasts planned online that they would come to Ocean City anyway. Resort officials said that OCPD is prepared for this weekend.

(Sept. 29, 2017) As predicted, the Volkswagens and Audis that typically attend the H2O International (H2Oi) car show came to Ocean City this week despite the formal event’s postponement, and resort officials say they are ready for them.

“The police know what to expect, and we will be doing our best to ensure all our ordinances are obeyed,” Mayor Rick Meehan said earlier this week. “We will be issuing tickets, not warnings, for driving violations and disruptive behavior.”

H2Oi is traditionally scheduled for the last weekend of September at the Fort Whaley campground in Whaleyville, but several car enthusiasts host fringe events in the resort. In the past, the event brought heavy traffic, numerous calls for service to police and some property destruction.

Last year, OCPD reported 1,222 traffic stops between Thursday and Sunday, nearly double the 680 reported the year before. However, more than 1,000 stops were logged in 2014. In 2016, fifteen traffic collisions were reported, again up from eight the year before, but back up to 15 in 2014.

The show’s cancellation apparently did not deter enthusiasts, as the cars zipped up and down “the strip,” or Coastal Highway, as early as Tuesday. Several people on the official H2Oi 2017 Facebook page goaded others into performing burnouts and other tricks so they could be seen on the City Watch cameras.

Dozens of events are featured on the Facebook page, including H20i Static Struggle Cruise on Saturday morning from 17th Street north and various car meet-ups uptown.

Police Chief Ross Buzzuro said in a press release that his department is continuing to coordinate with longstanding partners this week including state police, the Maryland Transportation Authority, and Worcester County, Wicomico County and Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Offices.

“Due to the increased number of visitors, [residents] can expect to see an increased police presence during this event,” Buzzuro said in a press release. “We want all visitors to enjoy our resort town, but do so in a safe manner and with respect to our laws and local ordinances.”

Common traffic violations during motor events include speeding, reckless driving, negligent driving, and spinning wheels. These violations carry fines ranging from $70 to up to $530 and up to six points assessed by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration to a driver’s license.

Ocean City Police advise visitors to keep public sidewalks clear for pedestrian traffic.

Open containers of alcohol on public property, including sidewalks, streets and alleyways are strictly prohibited. Anyone found in violation of this ordinance is subject to a maximum fine of $500 and/or 90 days in jail.

Police also cautioned visitors to expect traffic delays throughout the weekend. Drivers are reminded to be careful, refrain from texting while driving and be aware of pedestrians.

“We can’t stop everyone coming in town for this event,” Meehan said. “But the goal in our police impact is to get them to respect our town and the laws we have. Hopefully, we’ll send a very clear message.”

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