It was a scene straight out of a bad high school movie: a dozen or so teenagers gathered in the middle of night in a field to party it up just hours before the official start of school.
Only this scene unfolded for real early Tuesday morning , and ended up with one of the teenagers in hospital after he had fallen into a ditch off a concrete foundation near the University of Victoria amidst unconfirmed rumours that the student attends Saanich’s Reynolds secondary school.
Another female student, meanwhile, required medical assistance after she had presumably consumed too much alcohol, according to authorities.
Ray Bernoties, deputy chief of the Oak Bay Police Department, said officers responded to a report of a dozen or so teenagers gathering in the 2200 block of Cedar Hill Cross Road at around 1:15 a.m. Tuesday morning. The location near the University of Victoria lies inside Oak Bay just beyond the border with Saanich.
He said most if not all of the teenagers were 17 years old and had consumed alcohol before the arrival of authorities.
“It’s gang of youth, drinking heavily,” he said.
One of the teenagers — whom Bernoties had identified as a Saanich resident — required assistance from the Oak Bay Fire Department after he had fallen into a ditch off a foundation. Bernoties said he could not comment on the nature of his injuries, but said they required hospitalization. The teenager has since left hospital.
Another party-goer, a teen-aged female, required assistance after passing out after she had presumably consumed too much alcohol, said Bernoties. He did not wish to speculate about other causes that might led to the girls’ condition.
Bernoties said authorities checked the teenagers’ identification and notified parents about their whereabouts.
As of Monday afternoon, the file remained open and under investigation, said Bernoties. It is, however, unlikely that police would charge any of the teenagers, he added.
This said, Oak Bay’s school liaison officer will reach out to the schools, which the teenagers attend.
Bernoties spoke of at least two schools, but refused to identify them because he did not want to stigmatize those schools and damage their reputation.
He confirmed, however, that the majority of teenagers came from Saanich.
Social media postings suggest that some of the students had ties to Saanich’s Reynolds secondary school.
Posting underneath grainy video footage showing Oak Bay police and fire department vehicle at the scene of the gathering, one Facebook user said “this is the Reynolds grad sleepover it got shot down at midnight for this. My son is a grad there but didn’t attend as we are all sick with the flu here. His friends that were there were texting him as it was going on.”
Bernoties said it is not surprise to see incidents like this around the time in expressing hope that the parents of the teenagers will address this incident in a serious manner.
Generally nothing positive happens when a group of 17-year-olds gather late at night, he said.
The Saanich News reached out multiple times to the media line of School District 61 for confirmation and additional context about the incident but did not receive a response.