DAYTONA BEACH — "So far, so good" was the message conveyed by the top cops about the beginning of TruckToberfest.
Police Chief Jakari Young and Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood offered the same sentiment Saturday morning following the arrival of numerous tricked-out big trucks.
The pickups cruised State Road A1A on the beachside and other main roads Friday night and into Saturday. Some revved their massive engines while others tried to dominate people's ears with their expensive sound systems.
Some were decorated for Halloween with smears of fake blood. In spite of the noise, it was a fairly easygoing Friday evening when compared to previous truck events in the area.
Still, the police presence on the beachside and elsewhere was significant, and a source of some complaint among those who came to the area for the three-day event.
"I live in the area and a few buddies and I rode around the town," wrote Christian Olsen on the Daytona TruckToberfest Facebook page Saturday morning. "ALL of us got pulled over and ticketed for nothing. Might be safer to get together anywhere buy Daytona."
Officers have pulled over drivers whose trucks violate the law in regard to their height and the tint of the windows, but the activity hasn't mirrored the behavior witnessed during the official Daytona Truck Meet in June, said Messod Bendayan, spokesman for Daytona Beach police. A ticket count from area law enforcement related to the big trucks was not availa
During the June weekend event, thousands of big trucks clogged traffic along AIA and some engaged in rowdy behavior on Seabreeze Boulevard. Law enforcement in the area issued hundreds of citations and arrested several for drunken driving during that event. The June event also led to the increased police presence for TruckToberfest, which doesn't have specific planned and sanctioned activities.
Bendayan said by phone Saturday morning that he hadn't been contacted by any command staff about any major issues from Friday night.
"If there was a problem, they would've called me by now," Bendayan said.
Unlike the Daytona Truck meet that had official sponsors and events, TruckToberfest is driven by social media.
"That's why we didn't expect it to be nearly as big of a crowd," Bendayan said.
Eustis resident Cody Mullinnix came to the area on Saturday with his wife and baby. He said he was surprised by how fewer trucks there were this time around.
His Chevrolet 2500 Duramax was already a bit lifted and had tow-truck lights when he first bought it for the purpose of working in towing.
Then he attended a truck event in Daytona Beach and saw all of the souped-up trucks.
"I thought ... I gotta do it," the 30-year-old said.
But Mullinnix said he didn't come to the area to do any towing Saturday. He also said he wasn't here to blare his music or make a lot of noise.
"I don't do that," Mullinnix said. "There's people who live here."
Sheriff Mike Chitwood said Saturday that his deputies had written about 100 tickets in connection to TruckToberfest but that there had been no major issues to report so far otherwise.
Chitwood was one of several elected officials, members of law enforcement and residents who let would-be TruckToberfest attendees know in advance that the unlawful and reckless behavior of the June Daytona Truck Meet wouldn't be tolerated.
"There's going to be tow trucks out here," Chitwood said. "There's going to be strict enforcement of the motor vehicle code, so if you're coming here to show your ass, you're not going to like where it ends up."
In the Daytona Trucktoberfest Facebook group, a number of people complained that the law enforcement presence was onerous. Others posted that not many big truck owners were attending the event, and wanted to know where people were gathering.
"I just have to say I am very disappointed with Daytona Beach and the police officers," wrote Sabrina Risher-Cole. "They are pulling these kids over for the stupidest (expletive) ever. They can't even go to a parking lot and just meet and have a good time."
But area residents on the group page also pushed back, suggesting that if attendees behaved they wouldn't have any issues with law enforcement.
"Look, it's the same regardless of the event," wrote Jill Criscione. "Y'all come down here and plan of going buck wild and expect us to turn a blind eye to when you break the law. No!"
Toni Helm came to Daytona Beach for the day Saturday with her daughter and aunt, who was visiting from Philadelphia.
Helm and her daughter Tai, who live in Altamonte Springs, said they were unaware of TruckToberfest when they made plans to head beachside.
The pair also said they didn't think the truck activity was too bad. Helm said the revving of engines took her back to the '80s.
Source : https://www.news-journalonline.com/story/news/2021/10/23/police-1st-night-trucktoberfest-daytona-beach-fairly-calm/6121806001/1364