Hellfest Organizer Suspected Of 'Terrorizing' Arena Parking Lot Following Cancellation
Scott Frost of The Trentonian has issued the following report:
A coup of screaming Hellfest supporters terrorized the parking lot of the Sovereign Bank Arena [Friday, August 19], turning the spot of the canceled three-day event into their own personal demolition derby.
Witnesses said the Hellfest bus, a yellow school bus painted in the concert's logo that was used to promote the event, was seen doing doughnuts, knocking down traffic cones and driving wildly through the South Broad Street parking lot around the same time the first guitar swipe was scheduled to start the event.
"Their actions speaks for itself," said Eric Cuthbertson, the arena's general manager, who announced the event was canceled on Wednesday.
Police suspect organizer Shawn Van Der Poel recklessly drove the bus into the lot and jumped some curbs before speeding the bus back out onto South Broad Street.
Concert organizers kept vigil at Trenton's Conduit, across the street from the SBA, where the tattooed vegan hardcore music fan admitted taking part in the bus ride, but jokingly said he wasn't the culprit police were looking for.
"It's just been nonstop chaos," Van Der Poel said. "We rolled into the bus, and as we pulled around the corner, I don't know what happened, but the guy driving the bus just got it in him to drive over every single cone they had in the parking lot.
"I don't really care what people think at this point. We are very emotional about this. And it just looks like the biggest failure."
Trenton police officers chased the bus through the South Ward's tiny streets, eventually locating the bus abandoned on Ferry Street.
"It definitely shows you what was going to be of this event," a Trenton cop said as a wrecker came in to tow the bus.
Rob Fusco, vocalist for the hardcore band MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD, arrived at the arena the same time the bus went on its rampage.
He said the bus ran a red light and headed into the parking lot with many kids hanging out of the windows screaming and sticking up devil-horn hand signals.
Chief John McEwan, of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, said the bus was unregistered.
He said street intelligence points to Van Der Poel as the renegade bus driver.
The Hellfest organizer will be charged with a number of summonses including reckless driving and failing to adhere to a red light, the officer said.
Police eventually located Van Der Poel after he was caught yelling, "It is what it is," from a megaphone in a truck driving south on Broad Street with an undercover officer closely behind.
He was questioned and then let go after police ran the vehicle's plates.
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