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Police called in transit bus to help deal with 'hundreds of intoxicated youth' in Port Moody last weekend

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A TransLink bus was dispatched to Sasamat Lake in Port Moody Friday night as police dealt with "hundreds of intoxicated youths at closing time."

Authorities called in the "large bus" to transport the youths away from the area, The Port Moody Police Department said in a news release Tuesday, adding that the young people were blocking parts of Bedwell Bay Road and – in some cases – attempting to hail rides from strangers.

In an interview with CTV News Tuesday, Const. Sam Zacharias said Friday was an unsanctioned grad skip day at some local high schools, so there were lots of teenagers at the lake drinking throughout the day who ended up “stranded” in the park in the evening.

“We dealt with a lot of unruly and intoxicated youth on Friday evening,” he said. “There were actually hundreds at closing time up at the lake that hadn’t arranged for any sort of transportation and there were no buses that were going down at the time.”

When asked how many youth were picked up by TransLink, Zacharias explained that there are shuttles that go to and from the lake but have limited capacity, so the transit operator sent a 40-foot bus to pick up “close to a hundred” stragglers.

“There weren’t any issues beyond that, it was just the fact that they were intoxicated and did not have any sort of means to get home,” Zacharias said.

Specifically, the youth were picked up by the Route 150 bus, TransLink spokesperson Dan Mountain told CTV News in an emailed statement.

“Operations staff are often in direct communication with police when incidents occur and collaborates with police to facilitate public safety whenever possible,” he wrote.

TransLink did not say where the youths were dropped off, and Zacharias said he doesn’t know where they were taken but it was probably to a transit hub like the Coquitlam Central or Moody Centre stations. 

TransLink's Route 150 runs between White Pine Beach Road on the shore of Sasamat Lake and Coquitlam Central Station. It operates seasonally on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays, with the last scheduled bus departing the lake area before 7:30 p.m. It does not normally run on Fridays.

Officers were first called to the scene shortly before 7 p.m. for a report of a young person who had been pepper-sprayed at the main beach, the PMPD said.

"Both the victim and suspects fled the scene prior to police arrival," the news release reads.

Friday's incidents were followed by more issues on Saturday, according to police, who said they dealt with "traffic gridlock" and impaired driving at Sasamat Lake that afternoon.

Around 5:40 p.m., officers were called to the lake for a report that a male youth had been "shot multiple times with a BB gun and then pepper-sprayed."

The boy was treated at the scene and the investigation is ongoing, police said.

“It seems a lot of these calls for service involve alcohol and unsupervised youths,” said Zacharias, in the news release.

“Our key message to folks coming up to the lake this summer is leave the alcohol at home,” Zacharias told CTV News, adding that those caught drinking could be ticketed and kicked out of the park.

“Pack your patience, plan your trip, if you’re going to take transit make sure there are busses that are actually going to be running,” he continued.

The PMPD said it will be increasing patrols at the lake as the weather warms up.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Kaija Jussinoja 

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