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Ohio State students warned to drive safely if traveling to Ohio University for Halloween

Courtesy of OSU

Many Ohio State students and Columbus residents will travel down state US Route 33 East to celebrate Ohio University’s infamous Halloween block party in Athens Saturday.
But this weekend, the 90-minute drive to one of the nations top-rated party schools can easily turn into trouble for some drivers as the Ohio State Highway Patrol will have troopers out in full force along the route for incoming Halloween visitors.
“The high volume of vehicles on the road increases the volume of troopers,” said Rodney Robinson, a dispatcher from the Athens patrol post. “(It’s a matter of) saturation.”
Robinson said nearly 20,000 people will commute to Athens during the weekend of Halloween, including many from Columbus. In 2011, 50 people were arrested near OU, a majority for alcohol-related offenses.
“I’d like to go to Halloween at OU because I heard it is a lot of fun” from friends, said Brandi Harrison, a fourth-year in social work.
Troopers are inclined to protect travelers from any drivers making the trip intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, Robinson said, which means they will be paying close attention to any and all vehicles on the road. Robinson said officers on Halloween weekend will be much less likely to let any drivers fly under the radar.
This weekend, troopers are less lenient with speeding, swerving and technical issues such as expired tags or broken brake lights on a vehicle, Robinson said.
“Usually going five miles over the limit is no big deal,” Robinson said. “But (all those things) are grounds for me to pull you over. And if you are acting suspicious, or I smell something, that is grounds for me to search your vehicle.”
Robinson said patrollers will also be monitoring highways leading out of Athens on Sunday morning, wary of drivers who might not have fully recovered from parties the night before.
“(Our duty is) protecting those who are doing right,” Robinson said. “People think we are paid for each ticket we write. That is not true. We have a genuine concern (for citizens) and satisfaction for our job.”
Parking is another issue to keep in mind when traveling from Columbus to Athens for Halloween. The official website for the festival states there is no visitor parking allowed on Ohio University property during Halloween weekend.
Though the community welcomes Ohio State students to come and enjoy the festivities, it is vital that visitors cooperate with authorities to avoid trouble.
“Come, have fun, be safe, party. But you have to obey the law,” Robinson said.
Some students however said they would rather not make the trip.
Ethan Pirigyi, a fourth-year in communication, said the drive is “too much effort.”
“I would rather stay up here because of the cops down there,” he said.
Pirigyi plans to “dress up and go to a bar” instead.

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