The Saturday evening cruises looping through the city started as a way for people to drive their vehicles while maintaining social distancing, but it devolved into illegal behavior on the part of some, Casper's mayor and police chief said Tuesday.

"Last weekend, it was flat-out appalling," Mayor Steve Freel said during the regular city council meeting on YouTube.

Only a few people were irresponsible and violated existing laws, Freel said.

Police Chief Keith McPheeters told the council that the department was trying to allow people the opportunity to cruise.

"This last weekend's events crossed the line," McPheeters said.

The cruises began as the brainchild of Jeremy and Courtney Faust several weekends ago, starting with just the Fausts driving a vehicle.

The following weekend hundreds of cars gathered in the parking lots of Smith's grocery store and O'Reilly's auto parts store before driving west on CY Avenue, north on Southwest Wyoming Boulevard, east on 13th Street to Collins to East Second Street, south on Southeast Wyoming Boulevard, west on 12th Street and back to CY Avenue.

Police initially were okay with the gathering but then were called to clear the Smith's parking lot.

On April 25, they gathered at the El Marko Lanes parking lot.

On May 2, many drivers cruised the loop, but a few crossed the line with burnouts, said Freel, who showed a picture of skid marks on a street off CY Avenue.

City of Casper

So far, no tickets have been written nor has anyone been arrested, he said.

Freel said he had no problem with the city paying overtime for the police department to enforce the laws.

McPheeters said the burnouts cut into the top layer of road surfaces, which lead to potholes that will need resurfacing.

"This coming weekend, we cannot allow this unlawful and blatantly unsafe activity to continue," he said.

The police department will field a supervisor, a K9 officer, a traffic officer and four additional officers to enforce the traffic laws, McPheeters said. "We will be aggressively working it."

Police will give no verbal or written warnings, either, he said.

Violations will result in arrests for reckless driving and citations for careless driving, McPheeters said. "I would ask those that would be so inclined to engage in this conduct to remember what this will do to insurance rates, let alone the cost of the fine."

Where bad conduct damages the roadway, police will charge offenders with the city ordinance about destruction of public property, he said.

Likewise, people will be charged for violating open container laws, McPheeters added.

These actions are for the safety for other motorists and those watching the cars go by, he said.

Freel complimented the Fausts, who themselves were appalled by what happened and are distancing themselves from scofflaws.

"I will give kudos to them for at least taking a stance," Freel said. "What they started was a good thing, and has taken somewhat of a bad turn to it, and they pointed out they are not standing behind it."

Courtney Faust said she appreciated Freel's compliment and wanted the cruise to be fun and was disheartened at the bad behavior.

"This was never meant to be this big of an issue and go that way and be stupid," she said.

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