Coachella festival still going strong with 28 more arrests

Twenty-eight patrons of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival were arrested for drug and alcohol-related offenses overnight as the second and final version of the yearly outdoor festival got underway, police said today.

Eight of those patrons were caught either in possession, or under the influence, of drugs. The remaining 20 were nabbed for public intoxication, underage drinking or being minors in possession of alcohol, Indio police spokesman Ben Guitron said.

There were no vehicular mishaps to report today thanks in part to shuttle services and well-publicized directions to the event by the media, Guitron said.

“Traffic was good,” he said. “We did really well.”

Friday’s arrest totals followed the death of 24-year-old Kimchi Truong, an Oakland resident who collapsed at the Empire Polo Club last Saturday and died Thursday at Desert Regional Medical Center. Her autopsy could take as long

as six weeks, the Riverside County Coroner’s Office reported.

Guitron said no one has ever died at the festival, which is in its seventh year, but at least one attendee died outside the festivals grounds in 2008. Benjamin Muller, 21, of La Mesa, was found unconscious on private property in the 82-500 block of Avenue 50, where he was camping, and was later pronounced dead.

Last year, Monte Gardner, 59, of La Verne, was struck and killed by a motorist allegedly high on drugs at Avenue 52 and Madison Street. Gardner, an employee of the festival, was on way to take care of errands when he was hit, Guitron said today.

Guitron said festival-goers need to be careful in everything they do, and be mindful of the law.

“It doesn’t just have to be something illegal to pass away … you still need to be careful. It’s about choices,” he said.

It was not immediately known how many medical aid calls were made during the festival last weekend or on Friday. A final tally won’t probably be known until next week, Riverside County Fire Department spokeswoman Jody Hagemann

said.

About 90,000 music lovers flocked to both weekends of the perennially

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