Lake Minnetonka officials worry July Fourth weekend mayhem may return

For longtime marina owner and Big Island park custodian Gabriel Jabbour, this year's Fourth of July party on Lake Minnetonka was the rowdiest he'd ever seen.

He saw many young people intoxicated, with some stranded on the island. He saw one teen with eyes rolled back in her head and vomiting blood.

"I have been here 45 years I have never seen it like that," he said. "Ever."

Jabbour is on the board of the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District, which called a meeting Thursday to discuss safety issues at the lake in the wake of partying that seemed out of control.

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The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office received a total of 75 calls on the Fourth of July this year, with 17 people treated for intoxication on Lake Minnetonka. They included juveniles who were sent to their parents, Lt. Kent Vnuk said.

The LMCD board held the meeting to learn more about incidents that continue to take place on Lake Minnetonka during boating season.

The board didn't take action and some members said there may never be a solution to the problem.

"Is this really any different than Mardis Gras, spring break?" board member Gary Hughes said, noting other gatherings known for drinking. Hughes added that the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Water Patrol unit is already stretched thin. "They are in charge of how many lakes?"

Aerial drone footage of the lake on the Fourth of July showed hundreds of people at the lake, on boats and the shore.

North Memorial Medical Center paramedics transported the 17 patients from Lake Minnetonka. North Memorial Ambulance Supervisor Scott Elwell said drinkers sometimes don't know their limits on hot days.

Waves from boat traffic made it challenging to treat patients while they were still on the water, Elwell said.

"It's not a fun ride coming across the lake with a critical patient trying to intubate and stick IVs in," he said.