When Stephen Hodges moved into his home on Miami Street nine years ago it was a quiet road just walking distance from the beach.
Now, Hodges has to prepare every March for drunken partiers traipsing through his yard at all hours.
“I haven’t slept since Saturday,” Hodges said. “They may be on a break, but I still have to go to work.”
Since Saturday, Walton County sheriff’s deputies have issued more than 200 citations for underage drinking and have busted two house parties, each with more than 100 spring breakers.
“What we told people from day one is that we’re going to be much, much more proactive this year,” Sheriff Mike Adkinson said. “We are actively going out and making contact with folks on the beach. This year we’re taking a zero tolerance philosophy.”
View a slideshow of spring breakers in Walton County. >>
Deputies arrested 32 people for underage drinking and having an open house party at 110 Miami St. on Monday. They also evicted 150 people from a beach house on Shipwatch Lane at the homeowner’s request.
Deputies found no underage drinkers at the party on Shipwatch Lane, but neighbors had complained about illegal parking. The property manager asked deputies to stand by during the eviction, according to Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Wendy Ammons.
That incident was in a gated community.
The Miami Street location is just off U.S. Highway 98 and easily accessible. A neighbor estimated that the rent for the large house was about $10,000 for a week.
Bags of garbage lined the curb in front of the house Tuesday morning, and pool toys and collegiate towels lay on the balcony.
The interior was littered with empty beer cans, liquor bottles and funnels for chugging alcohol, according to sheriff‘s Maj. AJ Smith. Holes had been punched in the walls and it appeared some people had urinated on the floor.
“Our landlord came over last night and told us about it. We didn’t believe him at first,” said 21-year-old Jake Magary, a junior at Miami University in Ohio who is staying in a condominium on Miami Street.
“(The arrest on Miami Street) makes us less prone to invite people from the beach over,” Magary said. “I feel sorry for them. It sucks.”
Other spring breakers said the recent arrests and deputies’ constant presence will make them to tone it down.
“Probably they should have been a little more cautious,” said 19-year-old Caitlin Hughes from a community college in Texas. “I think you should stay inside, not bring attention to yourself.”
Scott Lade has lived on Miami Street for 13 years. He said the problems with spring breakers didn’t begin until large condominiums were put up next door to him.
“I saw them right when they got here and I told my wife they won’t last a week,” Lade said of the students who were arrested Monday.
Spring breakers from 11 states were arrested at the home.
“They were here for 48 hours. The Sheriff’s Office is doing a great job,” Lade said. “But next week there’s a whole new crowd we have to deal with.”