EMS transports down first day at Lollapalooza
In 2018, there were 160 medical transports total for the first day, this year there were 21 EMS transports, officials say
By Jessi Roti
CHICAGO — After a chilly and chilled out start to Lollapalooza on Thursday, arrests and hospital transports were down compared to previous years.
According to the Office of Emergency Management and Communication’s Director of News Affairs Melissa Stratton, there were 10 arrests (mainly for possession of a controlled substance/s or intent to deliver) one citation (for fence jumping), and 21 EMS transports. Half of the medical transports, according to Stratton, were alcohol-related.
In 2018 after day one of the event, the Tribune reported there were 2 arrests, 2 citations issued and 44 concertgoers taken to local hospitals to start the long weekend that included 160 medical transports total — including 16-year-old Evan Kitzmiller of Mundelein, who later died.
Most of Thursday’s arrests took place at the electronic dance music-centric Perry’s stage, which has become synonymous with MDMA usage and over-indulgence, especially by teen festival-goers. An autopsy revealed Kitzmiller died over an overdose of the drug when he was found unresponsive on Aug. 5, 2018.
According to the OEMC, over 100 pills of MDMA were recovered by undercover narcotics officers resulting in the nearly a dozen arrests. Rumors of water laced with hallucinogens being sold just outside of festival bounds were swirling by early evening Thursday, but undercover teams assigned to conduct surveillance could not confirm the distribution, Stratton.
While there was also talk on Twitter of a sexual assault Thursday, OEMC confirmed there was only a non-sexual physical assault.
Stratton also responded to reports of cell phones being stolen at multiple stages across the park, with some claiming an upwards of 30 phones were taken by the end of the day.
“It appears phones were taken while people were participating in mosh pits at Perry’s stage,” she said in a statement sent to the Tribune. “The Intelligence Unit arrested an individual at the Bud Light stage for stealing phones, but it’s unclear if there’s any connection to Perry’s stage thefts.”
A representative for Lurie Children’s Hospital confirmed it treated one E.R. transport from Lollapallooza, who was later released. Last year, Lurie treated 23 teens over the course of the four-day festival. Representatives for Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Advocate and Rush did not return requests for information.
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