Homeowners hide from melee on front lawn

Homeowners hide from melee on front lawn

September 28th, 2010 by Harrison Keely in News

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Terry Smith was afraid to open his front door.

Outside, at 2 a.m. Saturday, a rowdy college party next door had overflowed onto his front lawn, fighting had broken out and his car was damaged beyond belief.

"We pretty much were in fear of our lives," he said. "There were blood-curdling screams; you thought people were dying."

More than 100 people attended the party, Smith said. The party began at the residence of Lee University student Phillip Bonaparte, police said.

Three hundred yards away, Georgetown Road resident Destiny Wheeler was awakened by the racket.

"It was pretty intense," she said. "There was a lot of yelling and profanity. It literally sounded like it was right in front of my driveway."

Timeline

* 10 p.m. Friday: Party begins at a Lennox Circuit home.

* 1 a.m. Saturday: Neighbors begin calling the police.

* About 1:30 a.m.: Fighting begins in the cul-de-sac.

* 1:50 a.m.: Police arrive and recommend that the party be shut down.

* 2:57 a.m.: Police respond to fight at IHOP with the same individuals.

* 3:15 a.m.: Police issue citations to the same individuals at Tinsley Park.

Source: Neighbors, Cleveland Police Department

Smith said he called 911 three times before police arrived to break up the fight.

Fighting on top of Smith's Volvo caused $3,500 in damage, Cleveland police spokeswoman Evie West said.

One partygoer was thrown against the vehicle, denting the entire back door, Smith's son, Chaz, said.

Bonaparte said he would take care of the cost of damage to all his neighbors' property, according to the police department.

Last fall police had to remove about 70 partygoers from the same house, Terry Smith said.

"This is a really calm family neighborhood," he said. "But we've been interrupted and raped of our privacy and our security."

After Saturday's party, stray clothes, jewelry and empty alcohol bottles littered the yard, Terry Smith's wife, Ginger, said. In addition, two mailboxes were damaged, she said.

"It was a freaking gang war, like something you'd see on 'Cops' on TV," Ginger Smith said. "It literally was like a riot."

After breaking up the fight, officers responded to another fight at an IHOP restaurant on Paul Huff Parkway that was confirmed to have been started by the same crowd, the police department said.

About 35 people from the previous incidents at IHOP and Lenox Circuit were found at Tinsley Park by officers shortly after 3 a.m., police said. All individuals present received a citation for being in the park after dark, according to police records.

Contact Harrison Keely at hkeely@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6651.