Holiday weekend, game ‘not too bad’
The double-slam weekend, being the first home football game for the University of Mississippi Rebels and the Labor Day holiday, wasn’t as hectic as local law enforcement may have expected it to get.
“We had a pretty good crowd in town actually,” said Oxford Police Maj. Jeff McCutchen this morning. “But really, everything went really well. It was busy, as expected, but nothing out of the ordinary for a home game weekend.”
The game being at 11 a.m. helped keep crowds from rushing off campus and making a beeline to the highway. Many stayed in the Grove to continue tailgating and visiting with fellow fans, while some made their way to the Square. Many hit up area restaurants.
“Traffic went well,” McCutchen said. “Post-game, everything flowed out of the stadium. There was a little bit of backup going west to Highway 6, but not much at all. I’m not sure it’s anything anyone did or just luck, but either way, everything ran very smooth.”
A typical football weekend event brought plenty intoxicated people, or people working on getting intoxicated on city streets. On Friday and Saturday, 30 people were arrested for drinking in public and close to 20 were arrested for being drunk in public. Officers arrested about 10 people for DUI. In total, as of noon Sunday, 87 people were arrested — either taken to jail or given notices to appear in court for noncustodial arrests. Officers conducted 143 traffic stops and issued 86 tickets by noon Sunday.
“As you can imagine, we were busy but the officers handled everything and did a very good job for the amount of people they had to deal with,” said OPD Chief Joey East in an email this weekend.
Around the state, Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers worked three fatal wrecks where four people died. There were no fatalities in Lafayette County.
A new Grove change seemed to be handled well by football fans, according to Michael Thompson, with communications and marketing at Ole Miss.
University officials closed the Grove at 6:30 p.m. Friday and everyone had to clear the area. At 7:30 p.m., the Grove “opened” for tailgaters who made mad dashes to their preferred game day spot.
“From everyone I’ve talked to, and heard from, it worked extremely well,” Thompson said this morning.
Managing Editor Rob Sigler contributed to this report.