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Bay County Officers Break Up Spring Break Beach Party

Facebook-Bay County Sheriff's Office

College students on spring break in Panama City Beach aren’t letting recent statewide restrictions on public gatherings stop them from throwing large parties. But local law enforcement officers are finding ways to put an end to their defiance. 


Bay County sheriff’s deputies on Wednesday arrested three young women at a large house party that spilled onto the sand. 


Claire Elizabeth Brewer, 20, and Sierra Van-Olden, 20, were allegedly drinking on the beach, violating a local ordinance banning alcohol on the sandy shore through the month of March.  Leah Elledge, 22, was charged with disorderly conduct after she yelled at deputies and tried riling other party-goers, deputies said.  All three women are from Missouri. 


Deputies approached the party-goers because their large gathering on the beach exceeded the 10-person group size limit included in Gov. Ron DeSantis's recent executive order to slow the spread of COVID-19. 


At first, deputies say they struggled to drive through or around the crowd, but they were eventually able to break up the large gathering. 


The county sheriff's office is increasing its presence along the beach, according to a release. 

Valerie Crowder hosts and produces state and local newscasts during All Things Considered. Her reporting on local government and politics has received state and regional award recognition. She has also contributed stories to NPR newscasts.