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Winthrop athletes arrested at party

Fourteen Winthrop University athletes were among 27 people, some hiding in a padlocked room, arrested or ticketed when police crashed a keg party at 313 N. Wilson St. overnight Friday, according to a Rock Hill Police report.

The keg party was one of three weekend incidents across York County that resulted in underage drinking violations, according to police reports.

Police: Group hid in padlocked room

Police were called to the Wilson Street party around 2:45 a.m. Saturday after a neighbor complained of excessive noise. A police report states that when officers knocked on the front door, someone tried to flee the home by jumping out of a window. Others tried to run out the back door, the report states.

After finding the home's residents, police ticketed nine people under 21 who were drinking alcohol, the report states. In the meantime, an officer saw someone attempt to run out of a padlocked room. According to the report, police found a second group in the room with four empty beer kegs that were properly tagged and labeled. One man told police the group locked itself inside when they heard police outside, the report states.

All the people inside the room were arrested for hindering police, the report states.

Kegs registered to soccer star

The party was hosted by Kathleen Duffes, 21, and Winthrop women's soccer players Kathleen Pollard, 21, and Chelsea White, 21, all of 313 N. Wilson St., according to the report. All three women were charged with transferring beer to a minor, the report states. The kegs were registered to White, who was among the group hiding, the report states. She also was charged with hindering police.

White, a soccer standout, was the Winthrop Eagles leading scorer in 2006 and 2007, and led the Big South Conference with 10 goals in 2006, according to the Web site, www.winthropeagles.com.

Altogether, 27 people, many of whom are Winthrop students, were issued citations or arrested. In addition to White, those arrested for hindering police include:

• Meghan B. Burgin, 21, of Columbus, Ohio

• Kessler L. Johnson, 21, of 918 College Avenue Ext., Rock Hill

• Whitney M. Lamson, 21, of Tully, N.Y.

• Christopher A. Jennings, 22, of 508 Washington St., Rock Hill

• Wesley C. Clark, 22, of 1064 Eagle Drive, Rock Hill

• Andrea M. Graham, 21, of 918 College Avenue Ext., Rock Hill

• Thomas Wood, 19, of 993 Park Ave., Rock Hill

• Cameron R. Alksnis, 20, of Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, a Winthrop men's soccer player

• Charlton D. Jacobs, 20, of Columbia

• Michael J. McCullion, 20, of Bluffton, a Winthrop men's soccer player

• Grant Wise, 20, of 730 Charlotte Ave., a Winthrop men's soccer player

• Kyrie L. Weant, 19, of Morrisville, N.C., a Winthrop women's soccer player

• Eric Owens, 18, of Coopersburg, Pa., a Winthrop men's soccer player

• Tricia Vensel, 19, of Murraysville, Pa., a Winthrop women's soccer player

• Abdulaziz A. Alyahya, 20, of Cleveland, Ohio, was arrested for resisting police, the report states.

Nine more individuals, including six Winthrop athletes, were issued citations for underage drinking, according to the report and confirmed by Winthrop officials.

Winthrop spokeswoman Rebecca Masters said the involvement of Winthrop students in the incident is being reviewed by the dean of students, and student-athletes also will be reviewed by an athletic director. While specific outcomes couldn't yet be determined, she said students could face academic suspensions or expulsions.

Student athletes could face suspensions from games, full seasons or be dismissed from the team, she said.

"This situation will have a very intense and extensive review, as it should," Masters said.

Two more parties in Rock Hill

The Wilson Street incident wasn't the only party crashed by police over the weekend.

York County Sheriff's Office deputies issued citations for underage drinking to 11 individuals, ages ranging from 17 to 20, at 2948 Shandon Drive in Rock Hill on Friday around 7 p.m., according to a police report.

The report states officers found beer cans and trash scattered across the home. No parents were home, and the suspects were found hiding in bath tubs, closets and bedrooms when the deputies arrived, according to the report.

The report states deputies also found a small amount of marijuana at the home.

On Saturday, deputies crashed a party at 4530 Hidden Valley Road in Rock Hill, a separate incident report states. Four teens, ages 17 and 18, were cited for possessing or consuming alcohol. The report states the 17-year-old girl hosting the party told officers her parents were not home.

In both cases, the suspects were turned over to their parents by law enforcement, the reports state.

'Zero tolerance'

The weekend incidents followed a similar string of parties two weeks ago.

Commander Marvin Brown of the York County Multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit told The Herald last week that local officials are cranking up efforts to stop underage drinking. "It's zero tolerance," he said.

Last fall, S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford signed an amendment stiffening penalties for those convicted of drinking underage. Local law enforcement also recently received a grant to fund more awareness and stricter enforcement of underage drinking laws.

Jane Alleva, a spokeswoman for Keystone Substance Abuse Services, a group working with police to raise awareness of underage drinking, said the recent arrests are alarming.

"Drinking parties almost always involve binge drinking, which can lead to violence, sexual assault and even alcohol poisoning," Alleva said. "That's why we want parents to understand that underage drinking is not kids being kids or a rite of passage. It is a serious and even deadly problem."

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