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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Recent Fights at Busch Gardens Williamsburg Cause Concern

A recent slew of fights at Busch Gardens Williamsburg has caused concern (Courtesy of Busch Gardens Williamsburg Facebook)

WILLIAMSBURG — A recent slew of fights that have broken out at Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW) have caused concern.

On Saturday, Sept. 18, James City County Police (JCCPD) responded to the park at 7:20 p.m. after a report was received that a fight broke out.

According to Stephanie Williams Ortery, public information officer for JCCPD, a group of adults and a group of juveniles were involved in a physical altercation after there was a dispute regarding waiting in line for a ride. Oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray was used by someone involved in the altercation.

Ortery reported that both groups of individuals involved provided varying details regarding the incident, which remains under investigation.

Many have taken to social media to express concerns regarding recent altercations at BGW.

On Aug. 8, one such altercation went viral after a video was taken of a fight that broke out in the queue line for the Griffon roller coaster. Three unidentified females were engaged in the altercation, which left two individuals on the scene with minor injuries and a third taken to the hospital.

JCCPD provided data to WYDaily which shows an increase of phone calls the department has received over previous years from BGW’s address:

Type of Call 2017 2018 2019 2020* 2021**
All Calls Entered from BGW’s Address 342 346 392 77 367
Accident 33 38 29 4 26
Assault Report 7 6 14 14
Disorderly Persons 29 37 52 19 64
Fight 4 6 11 28
Intoxicated Person 27 17 32 8 28
Larceny (Report) 43 27 53 4 28
Missing/Runaway Juvenile 4 4 9
Suspicious Person 1 8 4 2 8
Verbal Domestic (In Progress) 7 7 1 9

*It is important to note that data collected from 2020 will differ due to the park’s closure for part of the normal operating season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
**This only shows the data collected through Sept. 23, 2021. The rest of the data provided encompasses Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 for that respective year.

In a comment to WYDaily, Busch Gardens Williamsburg Public Relations Manager Matthew Klepeisz said, “We are continuing to increase the presence and visibility of our security during high traffic events, including Howl-O-Scream, to mitigate these occurrences.  Safety remains our top priority and we will take the measures necessary to ensure that we create safe and fun experiences.”

WYDaily will continue to keep you up-to-date as more information on this developing story is released. 

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