Wednesday, November 29, 2023

DUIs, Reckless Driving, and Pursuits Coincide With Mexican Independence Day Celebrations in Covelo

[Video provided by a reader]

Police presence was heavy in Round Valley this last weekend after Mexican Independence Day Celebrations started off with a bang the night of Friday, September 16, 2023 when revelers took to downtown Covelo where an estimated thirty vehicles participated in a sideshow burning rubber and doing donuts in the town center.

Personnel from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol converged on the area for the rest of the weekend making over a dozen arrests, engaging in at least one vehicle pursuit, and receiving air support from a CHP helicopter out of Redding. 

Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall told us the night of Friday, September 15 marked the beginning of Mexican Independence Day celebrations. That night, Round Valley High School’s football team squared off with Potter Valley bringing an influx of vehicles to the valley. 

When the game got out, the exodus of attendees intersected with approximately 30 vehicles driven by revelers, some lifted trucks with Mexican flags flying out the back, bringing gridlock to a town of just over 1,000 people. 

Attempts to keep traffic flowing were disrupted by what CHP Garberville’s Public Information Officer Jonathan Clevenger described as “a crowd of approximately 250 people which gathered in downtown Covelo as 30 plus vehicles were engaged in reckless driving as well as sideshow activity (illegal and dangerous display or automotive stunts).” 

This information from Officer Clevenger provides clarity to our initial reporting on Friday night’s sideshow informed by real-time scanner traffic that put the number of vehicles between 200-300. 

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MCSO’s Lieutenant Quincy Cromer told us the occasion brought “numerous reports of subjects throwing items at patrol vehicles.” That night, deputies assisted CHP in a vehicle pursuit. 

These behaviors prompted a significant law enforcement response that night. MCSO’s Lieutenant Quincy Cromer told us a lieutenant, a sergeant, six deputies, and Sheriff Kendall himself deployed to Covelo to quell the scene. 

Officer Clevenger added that CHP personnel also deployed to Round Valley to assist in “dispersing the crowd” after which officers “conducted numerous traffic stops resulting in the four DUI arrests and the recovery of two stolen firearms as the result of a traffic stop.  Five vehicles were impounded and/or stored.”

Part of MCSO’s convoy was a literal paddy wagon to transport anyone arrested to the Mendocino County Jail. By the night’s end, the van was full of offenders. One person was arrested for carrying a loaded/stolen firearm, four people were arrested for public intoxication, and one was arrested for possession of controlled substances.

As the sun rose on Saturday, September 16, intel suggested “the reckless driving behavior and sideshow activity would continue,” Officer Clevenger told us.  In response, “CHP, MCSO and Round Valley Tribal Police worked together to provide an increased law enforcement presence in the area.”

Officer Clevenger said, “A CHP helicopter from Northern Division in Redding did respond to the Covelo area on Saturday night. The helicopter landed and remained in the area for a couple of hours before returning to Redding.”

He added that the CHP’s enforcement efforts netted six people for DUI even though a second sideshow never came to fruition.

Lieutenant Cromer said a team of one sergeant, six deputies, and one jail van staffed by a number of corrections deputies remained in Round Valley between Saturday night and Sunday morning. One person was arrested for public intoxication, one was arrested for drug paraphernalia, and one was arrested for driving with a suspended license and an out-of-town warrant.


Ultimately, Officer Clevengers said CHP’s motivation for these enforcement efforts “was to prevent sideshow activity, reckless driving, drunk driving, and any potential injury or death resulting from this behavior.”

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Sheriff Kendall described the weekend as a “perfect storm” that brought a lot of people into Round Valley requiring a “measured response” that essentially “depleted the entire county of resources.”

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  1. Bunch of fake ass “amnesty” seekers. This is a large scale foreign invasion. These assholes supposedly escape Mexico or wherever for a better life here, but here they are recklessly celebrating their pride in the country they “escaped” from. Of course their presence must showcase lawless behavior and complete disdain for legal American citizens.

    Deport them all, and send their junior gang member children with them!

    • Because Americans don’t act stupid as hell on 4th of July right? You’re talking out of your ass and it shows. You’re living on stolen land and somehow feel proud of that. Stupidity comes in all shapes/colors, but by all means make your ignorant, uniformed comments.

      • That’s “real” funny Devon.
        Might best get yer facts straight kid…cuz that statement rates as false AF.

        Kinda hard to develop an Ancestry if the people weren’t really there.

        Now some school:
        The Spanish land grants that Mexico won in the Mex War of Independence, Apr 1822, ended in San Mateo.
        The most northern Mission was San Francisco Solano 1823 on the lower delta.
        Technically the “territory” went N to Oregon but they didn’t “settle” there.

        In 1845, less than a year before the US-Mexican war,
        Governor Pío Pico granted Rancho Yokayo to Cayetano Juarez. The grant extended from Ukiah valley
        to the north end of Redwood Valley.
        Clear Lake is only other grant this far north outside the Sacramento valley where the grants went no further than Redding.

        Neither the Spanish nor the Mexicans “settled” any land north of there in California, Oregon, or Washington.
        The fog scared them away.
        You have to look all the way to BC where locals murdered the Spanish after a short time.

        Maybe excepting that the Spanish “found” Cape Mendocino was a good navigation beacon for ships heading to SoCal…er Alta California.

        Some of the descendents of the region around Covelo are Yuki, Yukian, Kato, Sinkyone, Lassik, Wintu, Nomlaki, Wailaki, Pomo (of which there are a great many peoples).
        And that doesn’t speak to the 12+ tribes the army crushed into Round Valley.
        Not one of em Mexican.

        Ignorance is a choice.

        Full stop.

  2. Covelo has become a bit more lawless than the past. It’s always had more than it’s share wildness, but it appears the wildness has grown. I’m sure not all of the crazies out doing side shows are immigrants . The white boys head up there to go wild along with the natives. No need to start singling out folks of Hispanic origin. That’s just some racist crap. In the 70’s if you were white you’d best not be hanging round Covelo after dark. And we all accepted that. Now for anybody pointing their crooked finger at a whole ethnic group for causing all or troubles, well you’re just plain ignorant and pretty much a racist!

  3. Who cares! We’re here now all of us together. There’s this thing called forgiveness and this other thing called acceptance. The real point is that drunk driving is a national pastime! In our rural area there is nothing for kids to do but drive! There’s no destination, just a car full of your friends, music and a rocky outlook on some windy road. Couple that with the angst and testosterone of youth, mix in some ultra accessible alcohol and there you go. An event.

    The elephant in the room is alcohol.
    Smoking a joint and looking at the stars from your truck bed is practically safe, romantic even. But drinking in your vehicle crosses the line, it impairs you and it thins your spirit.
    Thank you for writing an alcohol related article. At some point big alcohol will get its due in cancel culture if we can all start by acknowledging it. Step one after all, is just acknowledgment.

    • Bertha seems to have a good idea. Maybe if their was more activities for people under 35 they may find a safer way to have fun. It may also reduce depression and suicide among the youth here. There are plenty of vineyards and wine tasting rooms for the older audiences.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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