2017-07-06 / Local News

Lots of complaints, few injuries

Busy Fourth of July

Given the number of people, boats and fireworks that filled the Leelanau Peninsula for a long holiday weekend, county Sheriff Mike Borkovich said serious complaints were few.

“But it was very, very busy,” he added.

Deputies handled one possible drowning off the Lake Michigan shoreline north of Leland that is still under investigation (see separate story) and a vehicle roll-over accident off M-22 south of Leland.

“The car was all over the road, so the belief was someone was texting or distracted,” said Borkovich, who added that dispatchers had received a complaint about the driver and law enforcement was headed in that direction. “That was a bad accident with minor injuries.”

But calls were handled for everything under the sun — and moon. At 1:15 a.m. on the Fourth of July, dispatchers referred park rangers to a complaint that people in an adjacent campsite at D.H. Day Campground were talking too loud.

Parking and fireworks complaints were common.

On the evening of July 3 the fireworks calls came in quick succession: 11:35 in Omena, 11:52 in Empire and 11:55 in Leland Township.

State law was changed a couple years ago to allow private fireworks displays on the day before and the day after 11 holidays. Of course, the Fourth of July is the most popular for people who want to ignite explosives that light up the sky.

In Leelanau County, private fireworks displays started before the legal window.

“We’re having a lot of problems with people not following those rules,” Borkovich said. “I get it. That’s what our founding fathers wanted, they wanted us to celebrate our independence.”

Fireworks were not allowed in two “quiet areas” in the county — Leelanau State Park north of Northport and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Still, some people took it upon themselves to light fireworks on the Dune Climb.

But overall it was a relatively safe weekend.

“We didn’t have any injuries other than the drowning and the accident,” Borkovich said. “Our guys are worn out. They worked day shifts, they worked night shifts.”

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