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More police, safety measures planned for annual party

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Gazette Staff
April 5, 2008
— One year after an Edgerton pedestrian was killed after a party at a Newville tavern, the Rock County Sheriff’s Department will beef up patrols for next Saturday’s annual bash.

In an effort to curtail drunken driving and underage alcohol offenses, deputies will be on foot patrol in Newville, conduct youth alcohol compliance checks inside taverns and enforce laws on liquor sales to minors.


Last year, pedestrian Cameron J. Kraay, 38, was struck and killed on Highway 59. Both Kraay and the driver, Jason L. Huff of Edgerton, had been at the annual Break in the Weather Party at the Anchor Inn in Newville.


They attended independently of each other.


In late March, Huff pleaded guilty to a felony charge of hit and run involving death. A charge of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle was dismissed. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 3.


Kraay had not been drinking, according to preliminary blood tests reported by Rock County Coroner Jenifer Keach.


Sheriff Bob Spoden said the added patrol on Saturday, April 12, will reinforce the message for drivers not to mix alcohol with driving.


The Break in the Weather Party is centered at the Anchor Inn, but other bars and businesses in Newville also host festivities.


“Safety is our No. 1 issue,” Anchor Inn owner John Kinnett said Friday. “Every year we’ve gone the extra mile to make sure it’s a safe party.”


This year, no one younger than 21 will be allowed to enter the Anchor Inn grounds at any time, Kinnett said.


In years past, teens and youngsters with adults were allowed in early in the day and told to leave at night, but the celebration has grown too large to continue to allow that, Kinnett said.


In addition, the complete fencing that the bar installed last year will be installed again this year, he said.


Kinnett also gave credit to the people who work the gates checking identification. Members of the Lions Club and parents of the Edgerton High School girls’ softball team volunteer to check IDs to raise funds for their groups, he noted.


Deputies also will be watching for other hazardous moving violations such as aggressive driving, following too closely and excessive speed. All needlessly claim lives of motorists, Spoden said.


Motorists are encouraged to call 911 and report any suspected drunken drivers or reckless driving.


“Selling alcohol is a legitimate business that plays a valid role in our community, but such a business is a privilege to which very serious and specific responsibilities apply,” Spoden said in a news release.


“This same responsibility which applies to businesses also pertains to persons choosing to drink and drive. Not only does a person risk killing himself or herself or someone else, but also the trauma and financial costs of such a crash or an arrest for impaired driving can be significant.”



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