Hundreds of tickets, handful of arrests at Dream Cruise

Breana Noble
The Detroit News
Law enforcement officers begin to clear the traffic off Woodward as 2018 Woodward Dream Cruise comes to an end Saturday night.

Squealing turnouts, drag racing, reckless driving and driving while drinking forced county and local police to issue hundreds of tickets and make a handful of arrests at the 2018 Woodward Dream Cruise.

Oakland County sheriff's patrols and local police officers issued more than 200 traffic and ordinance citations on Aug. 18 during the 24th annual nine-community cruise along Woodward Avenue. Police made several arrests in Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak and Pontiac. Officials said the records are typical of the event.

"We took every precaution," Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said. "It’s a family event, generally a quiet event. Some people over-celebrate or burn rubber when they're not supposed to, but knock on wood, we’ve had no major incidents."

Bumper-to-bumper traffic and dense crowds led to the most violations in Royal Oak. They covered squealing tires, registration violations, texting while driving, unsafe starts, open alcohol tickets and marijuana use. Royal Oak Police also issued 51 citations the day before the cruise, and the sheriff's Royal Oak detail issued one ticket for careless driving in both Berkley and Royal Oak.

Royal Oak Police arrested two individuals, as well; one was for reckless driving and drunken driving, and another was for a suspended license and felony-associated warrant. Another person was arrested the day before the Cruise for a suspended license and a warrant.

"This is a family-friendly event," Royal Oak Police Lt. Keith Spencer said. "Reckless and dangerous driving like burnouts and squealing tires, our officers are looking for those types of offenses. You have spectators right on the curb with a several-thousand-pound piece of metal that someone doesn't have control over? That can spell disaster."

It almost did in Pontiac, according to spectators on Dream Cruise day, when a cruiser lost control of a vehicle doing a burnout and ran into some tents, said Laurie Horan, 51, of Roseville. No one was hurt, and a sheriff's patrol car began monitoring cruisers nearby soon after.

The sheriff's office issued 18 citations in the northernmost city of the cruise: seven for reckless driving, five for careless driving, three for impeding traffic, one for failing to stop in an assured safe distance, one for a parking violation and one for an unsafe start.

The department also arrested two individuals. One was for disorderly conduct and the other was for an assault on a police officer. McCabe said the officer was treated and released and is doing fine.

As for Huntington Woods, a community with a half-mile border along Woodward, its police department issued a whopping 35 citations during the cruise. Most — 27 — were given for cruisers going through red lights.

Huntington Woods Police Deputy Chief Bill Cudney said the department focuses on hazardous conditions for pedestrians and spectators.

"Southbound between 11 and 10 Mile is some of the lightest traffic until you get north where the traffic is bumper to bumper," Cudney said. "When you get to us, traffic breaks up, and there are long stretches, so the guys can start going a little faster."

Just south in Pleasant Ridge, police issued a typical 63 tickets on the weekend's Friday and Saturday, though not all were Dream Cruise-related. Two related arrests were for disorderly conduct and consuming alcohol in public.

"The Dream Cruise is a fun even, but safety is always important," Plesant Ridge Detective Lt. Casey O’Loughlin said. "Alcohol is never appropriate while operating a vehicle, and there will be consequences."

Bloomfield Hills had 32 traffic stops leading to 18 citations on Dream Cruise day. Events were quieter in Birmingham, where there was no arrests or tickets and in Bloomfield Township, where police wrote one drag racing ticket.

Berkley Public Safety Lt. Jordan Kobernick said this year's enforcement was steady, with police giving out five citations on Woodward from Thursday to Sunday of Dream Cruise week, including tickets for suspended plates, public intoxication and texting while driving.

"The biggest concern for me is traffic, especially toward the end of the night, when we're trying to shut down Woodward," Kobernick said. "Make sure you pay attention to the officers who are directing traffic without traffic signals. It's a scary time, with pedestrians and traffic coming. That’s the biggest thing."

Ferndale did not immediately return a records request.