2,000+ at Mecosta Co. rave; at least 6 hurt

Emergency crews respond to a rave where at least six people were hurt. (Aug. 2, 2014)

HINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities are investigating a sexual assault after a huge party in rural southern Mecosta County that more than 2,000 attended.

At least six people were hospitalized following the party that police officials described as a “rave.” It happened Saturday night into Sunday morning at a home in the 4000 block of 70th Avenue near 5 Mile Road.

Deputies are investigating a criminal sexual conduct case involving a 19-year-old Mount Pleasant woman who reported being sexually assaulted in a vehicle at the party, according to a press release.

A group of friends followed one ambulance away from the party. They said that the woman inside the ambulance had been gang raped.

“Four men carried her down the road,” said Joe Terrell, a friend of the alleged victim. “She’s not doing well.”

Partygoers said they heard about the event through social media and decided to attend. An online flyer advertising the party called “Project P” billed it as the “craziest event of your lifetime.”

A parking fee of $3 per vehicle was advertised on the graphic. Dozens of vehicles were parked in the field surrounding the home.

Emergency crews from Mecosta and Montcalm County treated and transported multiple alcohol and drug-related injuries and overdoses to Kelsey Hospital in Lakeview, Mount Pleasant Hospital and Spectrum Health in Big Rapids, according to the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department. Authorities said the crowd consisted of mostly people under the legal drinking age of 21.

Party attendees said drugs including heroin were being used. Several people said that at least one of the people injured had apparently overdosed.

Emergency responders staged in the area for several hours but the party continued into Sunday morning. Mecosta County Sheriff’s Deputies said they were instructed by the sheriff not to attempt to break up the party, fearing it would worsen the matter and prompt some of the attendees to drive drunk.

“It was outrageous. So many people just on the roofs and jumping off the roofs,” said Jeremy Schmitt who attended the party but decided to leave once people started getting hurt. “We heard a bunch of stuff about people OD-ing and… It’s not good to be in that situation. So,we had to get out of there as soon as possible.”

After sunrise, evidence of the party could be seen strewn about the property where the party took place and along the dirt road in front of it.

Several obviously intoxicated people were still outside and a small fire continued to burn.

One man wandering the area said he was stranded after tow truck drivers took his car. Police said it was blocking the roadway.

“We’re not from around here,” said Jonathan Hartger. “They just took the car off the side of the road. No warning. No nothing.”

The party seemed to have been planned well in advance. A Twitter account promoting the event started hyping it in mid-July apparently following a similar, smaller event.

“Ain’t nobody ever seein’ a party like this. This town doesn’t know what’s com in!!” the apparent organizer posted.

“This Saturday everyone be there,” a post on July 28 read.

While plans were in place, organizers apparently waited to release the location of the party.

“We also will release the address the day of. Don’t worry will get you out hereee!” a July 29 Twitter post read.

The party appears to be a copy-cat from the movie “Project X,” which features a group of young people hosting an out of control party.

Since that film was released in 2012, groups attempting to recreate the party in the movie have planned events all over the country. In some cases, people have been seriously injured or killed, police said.

Multiple charges are being sought for the property resident and the organizers of the “Project P” event.

Police on scene also voiced concerns that a similar party was being planned in the weeks ahead. That event was also slated to take place in Mecosta County.

Mecosta County Sheriff Todd Parcell was not immediately available to comment on the matter Sunday morning.

The emergency response pulled officials from multiple jurisdictions to the area with a likely cost of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information to call police at 231.592.0150.

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