San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department deputies broke up a car show late Saturday night that became crowded with as many as 3,000 people at the parking garage of Loma Linda University Medical Center, law enforcement officials said.
The car show, advertised on social media as a pop-up gathering with “supercars” on display, was set to be held starting at 9 p.m. on the top floor of the hospital’s parking garage. According to an event flyer, all proceeds would be donated to “homeless aid.“
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Videos of the event show dozens of sports cars and luxury vehicles driving slowing through crowds gathered near entrances to the parking garage and on the roof of the structure. Many attendees can be seen wearing masks. But videos also show some in the crowd without face coverings.
Cynthia Bachman, a Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman, said deputies went to the parking garage after receiving “numerous calls for service regarding traffic issues near Loma Linda University Medical Center and cars parking in the hospital parking structure.”
“It was discovered that hundreds of vehicles and individuals showed up for a charity car show and it quickly became overpopulated and was shut down,” Bachman said in an email.
Bachman later clarified to say that a Sheriff’s commander believed as many as 3,000 people may have been in attendance when deputies arrived. She said attendees dispersed when deputies ordered them out, with all clearing out around midnight.
It wasn’t clear why the event was allowed to occur. The statewide tracker for new COVID-19 cases shows the virus is still spreading in San Bernardino County.
As of Sunday, the county was in a purple tier, California’s highest alert assessment for the spread of the disease, with an average of 7.2 cases per day per 100,000 people. The state is also still banning large gatherings.
After reviewing a video from the event, David Wert, a San Bernardino County spokesman, said the car show “would have been out of compliance” with statewide health orders banning large gatherings.
He said the county had not been made aware of the event. And he said officials didn’t receive any complaints about the event.
“Had organizers contacted the county in advance, the county would have advised them not to proceed,” Wert said in an email. “Had the county been informed before or during the event, the county would have coordinated with the City of Loma Linda on strategies to prevent the event from going forward.”
The social media flyers for the event showed Loma Linda University Church was a cohost of the event. A receptionist for the church took a message Sunday but no one returned a request for comment about the event.
Originkazoku, which hosted similar car shows earlier this year across the region, was another host for Saturday’s car show. A direct message to the organizers was not returned Sunday.
Source: Orange County Register