Perkasie pool party causes outrage

Author: , Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published: Aug 19 2013 10:06:29 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 20 2013 06:32:12 AM EDT
PERKASIE, Pa. -

Some people called it a "near riot" -- a private pool party that led to several near drownings and a damaged police car. Monday night, Perkasie residents accused town leaders of putting lives in danger by approving the event at the last minute -- in spite of red flags.

It was billed as the "Splash in First Class" party. Some 700 people paid $40 a head to get into a wild event hosted by an NBA star. But police and neighbors said the party got out of hand -- fast.

"Our neighbors' houses were puked on, peed on," said one resident.

And that's just the beginning. Police said lifeguards were tossed in the pool. There were drugs. Up to eight people began jumping on a police cruiser, according to Perkasie acting police chief Steven Hillias.

"Officers were measured in their response to avoid triggering a widespread confrontation with the potential for numerous injuries or worse," he said.

It happened at the normally quiet Menlo Pool. Perkasie leaders said hey thought they were hosting a birthday party for 100-200 people.

Ryane Elliott, who helped promote the party, told 69 News: "It wasn't no riot. It was just a nice birthday party for someone."

"The borough was deceived," said borough manager Dan Olpere.

But how? The event had been promoted heavily for weeks on social media. The party's previous venue cancelled after seeing too many red flags.

"It all seemed sketchy to me, so it really wasn't a difficult thing because the story changed, like three or four times, every time we talked to them," said Michelle Adams of Chartwell Swim Club of Marlton, N.J.

Adams said it only took minutes on Google to discover the party was a paid, nightclub-style event.

"She saw the warning signs," said resident Andrew Rumbold. "She did the research and she cancelled the party."

Olpere responded: "I don't know what they saw that we didn't see."

Others accused the borough of booking a party at the last minute, on a night the pool was supposed to be closed, to make a quick buck.

"You broke your own rule for money, and you put peoples' lives in danger," said resident Rebecca Miletic.

Moving forward, Perkasie leaders said they will book parties farther out so they have time to do the proper research. They are also proposing a ban on paid-admission parties and limits on how late events can run.

Bucks Co. District Attorney Dave Heckler said he is looking at possible criminal charges of whether event organizers defrauded the borough by misrepresenting the party.

In spite of the uproar, Olpere said damage was only around $500. He plans to send a bill to the group.