Three arrested after police break up house party

By Luke Nozicka

Three people, two of whom are SIU students, were arrested after police broke up an unofficial Halloween house party about 12 a.m. Sunday when 200 people met on the lawn of 408 S. Ash Street where a car was flipped by partiers.

Zachary Justus, 19, a freshman studying marketing, was arrested for disorderly conduct and was released, according to the Carbondale Police Department’s news release Monday. Corey Albrecht, 18, a freshman studying engineering, was arrested for underage possession or consumption of alcohol, aggravated assault and reckless conduct. Albrecht was released after posting bond, according to the release.

Both Justus and Albrecht have been emailed for comment.

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While witnesses say an SIU student and a woman were pepper sprayed during the incident, the department’s press release said no pepper spray was used by CPD.

“There was no use of force used by the Carbondale Police,” Sgt. Corey Kemp wrote in an email when asked if the department used other forms of irritant.

The Illinois State Police, SIU Department of Public Safety and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office assisted CPD, according to the release.

Dylan Coler, a freshman from McHenry studying mechanical engineering, said he was maced.

Chris Wiley, a freshman visiting from Northern Illinois University, said he spoke with a woman who said she was pepper sprayed.

“There’s this girl who’s just crying. We’re like, ‘What’s wrong? Are you okay?’ She’s saying how she’s been pepper sprayed in the face,” he said. “She was pepper sprayed in the face over nothing. This girl was no anarchist.”

Members of the crowd threw rocks, bottles and full beer cans in the direction of officers, and a bottle, according to CPD’s press release, struck one officer. The news release says the officer was not injured.

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Clinton Farr, a 19-year-old freshman visiting from Lindenwood University in Belleville, said people were throwing beer bottles at officers after a vehicle was flipped on the street before police arrived.

“During the retrieval process, the vehicle inadvertently became disengaged from the tow truck cable and damaged a second, parked vehicle, which prolonged the removal process and extended the overall time this incident took to resolve,” according to CPD’s release Monday.

Gerald Welch, 30, of Chicago, was arrested for criminal damage to state supported property and was sent to the Jackson County Jail. None of the individuals who overturned the vehicle had been identified by about 4 p.m. Monday when CPD’s release was posted online.

Luke Nozicka can be reached at or on Twitter @lukenozicka.

The original article below was published at 6:06 p.m. Sunday.

Police arrested more than one person after breaking up an unofficial Halloween house party about 12 a.m. Sunday after more than 100 people met on the lawn of 408 S. Ash Street where a car was flipped by partiers. An SIU student and a woman were pepper sprayed during the incident, according to witnesses.

Witnesses watching from West Cherry Street said a water bottle was thrown at Carbondale Police officers. Dylan Coler, a freshman from McHenry studying mechanical engineering, said he was maced.

“There’s this girl who’s just crying. We’re like, ‘What’s wrong, are you okay?’ She’s saying how she’s been pepper sprayed in the face,” said Chris Wiley, a freshman visiting from Northern Illinois University.”She was pepper sprayed in the face over nothing. This girl was no anarchist.”

Police officers on the scene did not comment if anyone was maced or pepper sprayed. Carbondale Police Department Sgt. Doug Wilson said he could not confirm if anyone was pepper sprayed because he was not at the incident and has not read the report. He said CPD officers do carry pepper spray.

Wilson said he could not comment on why the people were arrested or if they are SIU students.

An officer on the scene, who did not disclose his name, said there were at least three Carbondale police vehicles, four Illinois State Police vehicles and one Jackson County Sheriff’s Office vehicle at the incident. He said the event was not as serious as they initially thought when calls were made to the station.

“There were cops everywhere telling us to back up or we’d be tear gassed,” said Ryan Powers, a student visiting from Lincoln College.

Clinton Farr, a 19-year-old freshman at Lindenwood University in Belleville, said a vehicle was flipped on the street before police arrived.

“We were sitting there with everybody outside this house and all the kids started going crazy chanting ‘S-I-U, S-I-U,’ forever,” said Farr, who plans to transfer to the university within the next year. “They brought in the swat team and riot shields. … The crowd got a little bit crazier and started throwing beer bottles, alcohol bottles in the street and the cops started marching down with dogs. [Police] started forcing everybody out of the street. They didn’t do anything, they just made everybody leave the street, other than that it was pretty crazy.”

Rachel Graff, 22, of Carbondale, said the flipped car was towed away.

“I’m kind of disappointed in our town and also kind of impressed that someone went to the trouble of flipping over a car, for why I don’t know,”said Graff, who watched the incident from her roof on South Ash Street. “I’ve never seen anything like that.”

Ashley Broshears, an undecided sophomore from Columbia, said someone threw a plant in a plastic pot at her during the incident.

“We literally had to get dirt out of our scalps last night,” Broshears said.

She said her friend who was visiting from Belleville was hit with a police baton during the incident.

Initially a Carbondale Police Department dispatcher said a press release would be online Sunday, but one was not released Sunday and more information will be available Monday, according to an email by interim Chief of Police Jeff Grubbs. The dispatcher said Lt. Mark Stearns was the on-duty officer Sunday morning and could not be reached for comment because he was out on call.

“Some of the behavior described is deeply disappointing and doesn’t represent either the standards expected within our community or the character of the majority of our students,” interim Chancellor Paul Sarvela wrote in a statement Sunday. “In fact, it appears that many attending do not appear to have been SIU students. Regardless, we urge students and others to protect their health, safety and reputations by avoiding large parties and crowds driven by excessive alcohol.”

Students found to have violated the university’s conduct code for disorderly conduct, public or underage intoxication or consumption of alcohol could face discipline, Sarvela wrote.

This story will be updated online as more information becomes available.

Aaron Graff, Branda Mitchell and Nathan Hoefert contributed to this report.

Luke Nozicka can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @lukenozicka. 

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