H2Oi takes over Ocean City

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Courtesy of Creative Commons

A H2Oi car set to take on the streets of Ocean City.

Saige Figgs, Staff Writer

H20i once again caused headaches for Ocean City officials. The unsanctioned event that is not supported by the town has come back for a second year.  The official H20i car show left the resort town years ago after officials experienced trouble with controlling crowds and enthusiasts who communicated over social media continued to gather illegally. This led to multiple days with reckless driving, burnouts and drag racing all on public streets.

After the unsanctioned event ended in 2019, Mayor Rick Meehan said, “What took place this weekend in Ocean City, can never happen again.” Maryland lawmakers in the Senate and House of Delegated worked together to help pass the Special Event Zone legislation. The bill was sponsored by Worcester County state Senator Mary Beth Carozza and state Delegate Wayne Hartman as well as other Maryland lawmakers.

Maryland General Assembly in the spring of 2020, enacted a special event zone law. Violations under the legislation can be arrested and sentenced to up to 60 days in jail and/or a fine up to $1,000.

The town of Ocean City sent out postcards to many vacationers making them aware what was going to take place in the following days. The residents were told that traffic would be re-routed, to expect delays, and if possible, to just stay at home.

Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro emphasized that there would be major disruptions in traffic, speed limit would be lowered, and all fines would be doubled.

Between Sept. 24 and 27, there were sixteen state and local law enforcement agencies available to assist the Ocean City Police Department. On Sunday, it was reported that there were over 277 arrests, 345 tows, 3,500 citations, and 2,500 traffic stops over the four days. Traffic backups were miles long on Coastal Highway this weekend.

Videos on social media showed scenes that were chaotic, police were being tackled while arresting people, and some people threw objects at officers as well.

The mayor and officials are going to evaluate the steps and procedures that were used over the weekend to figure out the best way to discourage the unsanctioned event from taking place next year.

Senator Mary Beth Carozza said “From my conversations with the leadership of OCPD and allied law enforcement command, I expect to hear future public safety recommendations. I believe we need to allow our professional law enforcement leaders to assess the weekend, conduct their action review, and hear their specific recommendations for the future with the input and support from the public.”