1 Phish fan dies, hundreds arrested
Updated 11:41 p.m.
SARATOGA SPRINGS The weekend’s three-night stand by Phish drew tens of thousands of fans to the city, sent the law enforcement community into overdrive with hundreds of arrests and saw one person die of a drug overdose.
The death came after the band’s opening night concert at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, authorities say.
The victim was taken to Albany Medical Center and died there, Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III said in a news release.
State parks spokesman Dan Keefe confirmed that a 40-year-old Vermont man was airlifted to Albany Medical Center on Friday night and was on life support the next day.
The man initially was taken to Saratoga Hospital by ambulance but then became unresponsive, Keefe said.
The Saratoga County Coroner’s Office will not release any information about the death because it is under investigation, said Deputy Coroner Susan Hayes-Masa.
Three police agencies made more than 200 arrests connected to the Friday, Saturday and Sunday night Phish concerts, which were expected to draw up to 25,000 people each night.
Gummy bears laced with LSD and a nitrous oxide tank were among the drugs police encountered.
Saratoga Springs police also made arrests related to LSD, Ecstasy, hallucinogenic mushrooms, hash, the anesthetic ketamine (also called Special K), bath salts, cocaine and heroin, said spokesman Lt. John Catone.
State park police sent 30 people to jail on the concert nights, while 25 others posted bail at the station.
In addition to the drug arrests, state park police made two non-drug-related misdemeanor arrests for forcible touching and resisting arrest and issued 95 violations, including for underage drinking.
City police also issued 50 traffic tickets during vehicle stops on South Broadway, Union Avenue, Route 9 and Broadway.
Law enforcement officials were so busy those nights that the district attorney’s office ran a shuttle to take people from the state Office of Court Administration at the Lincoln Baths, where they were arraigned, to the Saratoga County Jail, Murphy said.
Most of the defendants appeared in Saratoga Springs City Court on Tuesday, and the DA’s office assigned four assistant district attorneys to the court on Tuesday; usually one is sufficient to handle the court’s caseload, Murphy said.
Saratoga Springs police arrested nine people on felony charges:
• Four were arrested after police stopped their car at 3 p.m. Sunday on Union Avenue and allegedly found narcotics and a nitrous oxide tank.
Warren J. Carlson, 34, of Binghamton, was charged with felony fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor unlawfully possessing noxious material. Tammy M. Carlson, 38, of Endicott, was charged with felony fifth-degree criminal possession and misdemeanor unlawfully possessing noxious material. Two other people in the car faced misdemeanor charges only.
• Three people stopped on South Broadway at 4:37 p.m. Saturday had various drugs in their possession, police said. Officers later got a search warrant and seized other drugs from a hotel room in Colonie.
Kyle A. McMurry, 29, of Madison, Ala., and Christian A. Pollock, 18, of Rockwell, Texas, were each charged with two counts of felony fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Daniel Cucinotta, 35, of Ocala, Fla., was charged with one count each of third-degree criminal possession and fourth-degree criminal possession.
• Clayton Pizzollo, 35, of Grey, Maine, was charged Saturday with two counts of fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and one count each of third-degree criminal possession and fourth-degree criminal possession.
• James W. Hicks, 46, of Madison Avenue, Albany, was charged Saturday with felony fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and three misdemeanor drug charges.
• Benjamin James Jensen of Denver, Colo., was stopped on South Broadway at 2 p.m. Saturday, and police said he had illegal narcotics in his possession. A warrant check revealed he was wanted in Arkansas, police said. He was charged with a felony for being a fugitive from justice, a misdemeanor drug charge and resisting arrest.
• Michael Desbiens, 37, of New Haven, Conn., was charged Friday with felony fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, two misdemeanor drug possession charges and resisting arrest.