ESSEX FELLS, NJ - Saturday evening, Essex Fells Police were alerted to a disturbance close to their police headquarters, on Wooton Road. The homeowners had discovered that alcohol was being served at their teenage child’s party. They stopped the gathering, and requested that parents come pick-up their children.
When Officer Kevan Murphy and Sergeant William Theilacker arrived at the home, they found groups of kids waiting outside, and ushered them back into the house due to the freezing temperatures. As parents came to retrieve their kids, North Caldwell, West Caldwell, Roseland and Caldwell Law Enforcement all aided in the process.
Murphy and Theilacker discovered at the scene two very ill teens. A 14-year-old male was unconscious, and a 15-year-old male was semi-conscious due to intoxication and were soon hospitalized. After returning to her West Caldwell home, one 15-year-old female guest was also in need of alcohol consumption treatment and she was taken to the hospital as well.
Beth Coudray Bucci of North Caldwell stated, "I feel that parents need to know that activities like this happen and it should not be swept under the rug."
The Essex Fells Police Chief, Vincent A. Kulik, released this statement:
On February 9, 2013, around 8:40pm, Officer Kevan Murphy and Sgt. William Theilacker responded to a disturbance on Wootton Road.
Several groups of juveniles were walking and standing in the street. Parents were arriving in the area to pick up their children and friends.
Officers made contact with the homeowner who had ejected the group in the street as she had discovered alcohol at the party. Officers were ensuring the juveniles were being picked up or returning to the house for shelter due to the below freezing temperatures when a 9-1-1 call was received for a sick juvenile at the residence.
Officers found an unconscious 14-year-old male and a semi-conscious 15-year-old male. Both juveniles were heavily intoxicated and were transported to hospitals for medical care. Later in the evening, a 15-year-old female who had attended the party was transported from a West Caldwell address to the hospital for treatment due to her consumption of alcohol. Officers from North Caldwell, West Caldwell, Roseland and Caldwell assisted in releasing juveniles to their parents. The incident is currently under investigation by the juvenile bureau for formal action.
Scott Harrington, of Verona, commented, "This hits close to home. Parents need to talk to their kids; knowledge, love and respect are the most important things we can instill in our kids."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States.” The CDC states that alcohol is now used by teens more than cigarettes and illegal drugs and they consider it a “major public health problem.”
The CDC compiles statistics on risky behavior of high school students. Their most recent (2011) survey produced the following results:
Percentage of New Jersey High School Students who in the previous 30 days:
- Had at least 1 drink of alcohol - 43%
- Usually obtained the alcohol they drank through someone giving it to them - 34%
- Had sexual intercourse at least 1 time (over 3 months) - 32%
- Had more than 5 drinks of alcohol within a few hours - 24%
- Smoked at least 1 marijuana cigarette - 21%
- Smoked at least 1 cigarette - 16%
- Rode with a driver who had been drinking at least 1 time - 21%
- Rarely wore seat belts - 10.5%
- Sniffed glue OR aerosol spray OR inhaled paints or sprays at least 1 time - 10%
- Used Ecstasy at least 1 time - 7%
- Drove after drinking alcohol at least 1 time - 6%
- Used Cocaine at least 1 time - 4%
- Used Methamphetamines at least 1 time - 3%
- Used Heroin at least 1 time - 2%
The CDC also surveyed New Jersey high school students asking them if they had participated in the following activities at least once before the age of 13:
- Had at least 1 drink of alcohol - 14%
- Smoked at least 1 cigarette - 5%
- Had sexual intercourse at least 1 time - 5%
- Smoked at least 1 marijuana cigarette - 4%
When teens gather in social situations, they tend to drink differently than adults do. They drink large amounts of alcohol and they drink it quickly. Apparently Saturday’s evening’s party began at 7:30pm and only 80 minutes later, the 3 teens had put themselves into dangerous states of unconsciousness.
"Honestly, i think parents need to start being more attentive to these parties and more responsible with what goes on at these parties. These were young teens,” expressed Lori Scarangella Uhlendorf of Fairfield. “I know so many adults who think these parties are like a right of passage for teens; they're not. They are illegal and they're dangerous."
For further information:
Essex Fells Police Department
Chief: Vincent Kulik
255 Roseland Avenue
Essex Fells, NJ 07021
Facebook: Essex Fells Police