Fourth of July a quiet one

Law enforcement officials report few problems

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— With the exception of a few fireworks, the Steamboat Springs Police Department said the July 4 holiday was a quiet one.

From Thursday through Sunday morning, the Steamboat Springs Police Department, Routt County Sheriff's Office and Colorado State Patrol arrested seven individuals on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and four others on suspicion os driving while ability impaired. Four other arrests were made during the four-day span.

Officials increased DUI enforcement over the holiday weekend. The sheriff's office held a DUI checkpoint July 4 and the police department had extra officers on duty with 11,000 visitors in town.

"I can tell you it has been a very uneventful weekend. People were well behaved," said Dale Coyner, the Steamboat Springs police officer in charge Sunday.

It was a big change from last year when 56 arrests were made during the three-day span surrounding July 4.

Forty-five of those arrests were drug related and the Grand, Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team made 25 of those arrests in the campgrounds and parking areas next to the two-day Independence Incident music festival.

Last year the music festival brought about 11,000 people to town and was headlined by the String Cheese Incident. The music festival, also held over the July 4 holiday in 2001, did not return to Steamboat in 2003.

"It was much quieter," Coyner said. "During the Fourth of July, the main complaint was fireworks with nothing else major."

The biggest incident for the weekend came Friday night when a 10-by-20 foot blaze erupted on Howelsen Hill shortly after the city's annual Fourth of July fireworks.

Fire officials said fireworks set off by residents were the likely source of the fire, not the display. The fire was put out within half an hour.

Coyner said there were a few minor bar scuffles Saturday night, but no one was taken to jail.

Early Sunday morning, Veronica Ruiz, 32, was arrested for allegedly getting into a car left running in the alley behind the Tap House and driving away. The Denver woman was taken into custody and the vehicle was recovered without any damage, Coyner said.

Ruiz was charged with DUI, motor vehicle theft and driving under revocation.

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