On Saturday, September 30th, two chartered California Limo Buses rolled into Ocean Beach carrying approximately 100 college-age students. They were dropped off near the intersection of Santa Monica Avenue and Abbott Street, near the pier.
“We initially got a call about an individual who was intoxicated at the Starbucks on Newport Avenue,” one of the National Public Safety security guards told me. “He was associated with the group but got into an Uber and left. I continued walking down Newport until I got to the foot of the street and turned onto Abbott where a resident flagged me down because a bunch of kids were completely wasted near the corner of Abbott and Santa Monica….
“Students were literally floundering up the street towards Bacon, stopping to vomit along the way,” he continued. “I saw at least four or five individuals — young kids who appeared to be under age — vomiting in several different yards. I called for additional backup — another NPS officer — as well as eight to ten police officers…. Everyone was busy attending to the sick kids.”
There were two or three medical calls that went out, but only one person was reportedly transported to a hospital — unconscious, according to one source.
The students had booked Wonderland for an event but were turned away when they showed up.
5083 Santa Monica Avenue, Suite 1B, Ocean Beach
Debi Nolan, owner of Tower Two Café, was there for the melee: “I saw a large mass of 21-year-old-looking girls and guys way over-intoxicated. They were shaking our doors trying to get back into Wonderland, located above us. When I told them this wasn’t Wonderland they got aggressive with our cook — others tried to take swings at customers, yelling obscenities. One girl was passed out and couldn’t even get on the stretcher when the paramedics came…. A lot of them scattered and took off in Ubers to avoid getting arrested....
5083 Santa Monica Avenue, Ocean Beach
“They hired a DJ for an event upstairs [at Wonderland], and then when they got there — this is what security from Wonderland told me,” said Nolan, “they realized that most of them — or least half of them — were under-aged and [Wonderland] said, ‘Sorry, we can’t tell which one of you is over 21 so you’re all going to have to go.’”
An employee at Wonderland confirmed Nolan’s account that the students were turned away because they appeared to be under-aged.
“The students became irate when they were turned away,” Nolan continued. “They came down here and were trying to get off the patio and started getting ridiculously angry. Security came down from Wonderland, police officers showed up, paramedics, firemen, and it was just a mess….
“I didn’t see them get off the bus, but they were all dressed in disco [garb] and we saw them going upstairs and then soon after they started trickling down…. I thought it was just going to be a couple of them because I was focused on two of them that kept trying to get in here, trying to get into the business next to us. I said, ‘This isn’t where you think it is.' One guy started yelling, ‘I gotta get back into Wonderland’ and then he snuck around back by the elevator to sneak people up and our manager went out there. That’s when he got punched….
“They were out of control and just too young, but yeah when they were down there they must have filled the sidewalk from here all the way down to the next block — just droves of them…. We had three security guards from Wonderland trying to get them out of here. As soon as the kids came down the stairs they were stumbling everywhere. We had to put caution tape across so they would go off the patio to the steps…. An elderly lady at one of our patio tables, in a wheelchair, yelled, ‘Fuck you, bitches!’”
According to security guards on the scene and their reports, the organizers of the party buses didn't have enough security. Chris Johnson, staffing/head of security for 4 Diamond Events, allegedly told NPS guards, “This was a USD-sanctioned event…that they usually don't have these problems and didn't have enough security to deal with it.”
Johnson declined to comment. His business card indicates an association with SDGreeklife.com.
Intoxicated students weren’t the only problem left behind, as one of the buses had an oil leak. Puddles and trails of oil were on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard down to Santa Monica, Bacon Street, and Abbott. The leak also created a huge puddle in front of Tower Two Café, where the students were dropped off. It was quickly attended to by bystanders who covered it with sand.