Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Sunday, January 6, 2013
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Island rings in new year quietly

The streets were jam-packed as usual for New Year's Eve along all the typical hot spots, but paramedics and cops reported a quiet night as Key West brought in 2013.

"We certainly had very large crowds, especially on the 200 block of Duval at Sloppy Joe's and 700 block, where Sushi fell in her shoe, but overall there were no major incidents and very few arrests," Police Chief Donie Lee reported on US-1 Radio after the festivities. "Everyone seem to be having a good time and rang in the year the right way."

The crowds on New Year's Eve don't measure up to the massive hordes drawn downtown for Fantasy Fest, but police still have their hands full, Lee said.

"Our primary goal is to keep people safe, and when people get out of hand, we usually ask them to settle down first and typically we get compliance," before any arrests are needed, Lee said.

Meanwhile, Care Ambulance Service brought in two extra trucks with additional paramedics, but luckily they weren't needed, said Operations Manager David Erwin. There are typically three ambulances working on a weekend night, but on New Year's Eve, Erwin assigned five total.

Erwin reported no major alcohol-related illnesses or incidents that required medical attention.

"I would even say it was tamer than in years' past," Erwin said. "We always have our fair share of people who have had too much to drink who wind up in someone's backyard who doesn't belong there."

Erwin reported "a rash" of drunken people who paramedics assisted, but didn't need to transport to Lower Keys Medical Center.

"We did a lot of directing people to where they could get a free ride to their motel," Erwin said, laughing.

Meanwhile, Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin also reported no major incidents. There were a few domestic-related batteries, but no one seriously injured.

There was a man on Stock Island lying naked on U.S. 1 near the Key Haven boat ramp who was taken to jail, but overall it was a quiet night in the county, Herrin said.

"We had our usual number of reports, but it was all minor, fortunately," Herrin said.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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