MECOSTA COUNTY, Mich. – More details are surfacing that piece together the timeline and aftermath of the 2000-person-plus rave party at a home on 70th Avenue in Hinton Township.
Mecosta County Sheriff Todd Purcell told FOX 17 that the investigation is ongoing as far as charges being filed.
Sheriff Purcell said several people may face charges including: the party organizers, including James Taylor, 20, who is the son of the homeowner of the house where the rave was hosted; the homeowner; the suspect who allegedly sexually assaulted a 19-year-old woman; and several people who were taken to the hospital for possible drug overdose. Purcell added that Taylor will likely face civil rather than criminal charges.
But the rave’s host, James Taylor, who turned 21 on Monday, told FOX 17 it's not his fault.
“I didn't force anything down anybody's throat,” said Taylor. “I didn't make anybody stay here until 7 A.M. or 11, or whenever it was that everybody left. I didn't make this kid pass out on my floor."
Saturday night's rave coined the name and hashtag #ProjectP: a scene that many partygoers and Taylor said was a birthday party for their friend Danny, modeled after the movie, Project X.
Party organizers booked bands and DJ’s in advance, like the group called Strap Back, who told FOX 17 they drove from Topeka, Kansas to perform. DJ Shane Harris of Strap Back said they were paid but felt the disorganization caused a dangerous environment.
Photo gallery (All photos here courtesy of Shane Harris)
"The crowd, the disrespect level, throwing bottles, and cans all over the roof tops, I was personally concerned that somebody might fall off the roof and be injured,” said Harris. “I just didn't want to see that happen."
Harris said when police arrived on scene the group decided to stop playing music because they could sense things escalating.
"We had to cut our set short and stop the music,” said Harris. “Basically immediately after stopping the music, the crowd, it was uproar for it to be turned back on. It was like 'we're not going to be shut down.'"
Sheriff Purcell said EMS transported at least seven people to the hospital: six people for possible drug and alcohol overdoses, then one man who fell off the barn while intoxicated, who was in serious condition.
Purcell said once they realized the party goers would not back down, police and first responders stayed back at the nearest intersection to avoid a riot. He told FOX 17 that partygoers drove most people to them to be brought to the hospital.
"We did have to respond to an injured person that was unable to be loaded into a car to be brought out,” said Purcell. “At that point the EMS units and our units were beginning to be circled by the partygoers, but once they realized we were only there to get the injured person out they backed off."
Then the rave’s aftermath traveled to a drunk driving crash. According to Michigan State Police, a car crashed into the front porch of a home on the 100 block of East Main Street in Mecosta around 3:40 A.M. Sunday. Troopers said three intoxicated males were inside that car, including the driver, and each admitted to drinking, having no injuries, and that they had come from the party on 70th Avenue. The driver was arrested and is being held at the Mecosta County Jail pending charges of OWI and no operator’s license on person.
Troopers said the car went off the roadway then hit a ditch in front of the mobile home and went airborne. Then the car continued at what troopers called a moderate speed and crashed into the front porch of the home. The homeowners were not at home at the time of the crash. Troopers said the car was totaled and caused a few thousand dollars in damage to the home.
Now with charges pending, Taylor still says he's not responsible for others' actions.
"If you're a parent that's got a 14-year-old child that's been able to be at my house all night, and according to the police there were a lot of them here, so I think some parents should do some reflections on their parenting before they get mad at me,” said Taylor.”
According to partygoers and Facebook, a Facebook group called “Turn downn for whattttttt?” is planning another rave this Friday. Taylor said this would be the third Project P party. Early Monday the Facebook group posted that the party would happen at 9 P.M. in Greenville, but the group has since removed the location. As of Monday evening, more than 12,500 people have been invited.
According to Taylor this was the second “Project P” party, the first one was thrown at a house in July that was “nowhere near” the party on 70th Avenue. Taylor said organizers charged $5 for car parking then $25-50 for VIP tickets to the party, but said organizers did not sell any alcohol or drugs.