Nassau cops shut down rave at Coliseum

Police radio audio of authorities shutting down a rave at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night after several concertgoers became sick and passed out at the event, police and witnesses said. (Oct. 27, 2012)

At least 50 people required medical attention, and a helicopter pilot was arrested when he landed near Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale after authorities shut down a rave concert there Saturday night, Nassau police said Sunday.

Police, who were already at the venue responding to 911 calls reporting as many as 100 intoxicated young people at "The Haunted Coliseum" rave party, arrested the pilot, Michael Croissant, 44, of Monticello, and charged him with first-degree reckless endangerment.

The intoxicated young people were taken to various hospitals, police said. There were no reports of fatalities.

Police received several calls about intoxicated rave participants, Nassau police spokesman Insp. Kenneth Lack said. "As soon as it reached a level where it became apparent that something was going desperately wrong, we made the decision to close it down for the good of public safety."

He said the grounds were inspected to make sure no one behind bushes or on the ground needed medical assistance.

The concert was halted after the band Otto Knows performed, and 20 minutes into DJ Alesso's set. Lights came up, the music was silenced and people were told to leave at 11:15 p.m., just over an hour past the event's 10 p.m. start and before Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia took the stage. The crowd protested, but followed police instructions to evacuate the Coliseum.

"I'm upset. This should go on another two hours," complained Michael Bertucci, 25, of Oceanside. "There are too many underage people here."

Witnesses said they saw people using the drug Ecstasy and drinking alcohol disguised in bottles of soft drinks. "This is what disco was like back in the '70s," said Andrew Trombini, 32, of Garden City. "It's a drug-fueled music scene. Today's culture is turned on to this sort of thing. The bigger the music gets, the more insane the whole drug scene becomes."

Promoter Lou Branchinelli of Lou B Industries of Howard Beach, Queens, said he was disappointed at the turn of events. "We were told to close down, so we did for the safety of everybody," he said. "The circumstances were beyond my control."

Pilot Croissant, meantime, landed on a grassy area west of the Coliseum with about 20 pedestrians nearby, police said, after making an earlier attempt to touch down about 11:45 p.m.

Police didn't know why Croissant was landing a helicopter there, but said he did not secure a safe landing zone ahead of time with police and Coliseum personnel. His Bell 407 helicopter was seized.

Croissant was arraigned Sunday at First District Court in Hempstead.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Follow Newsday on social media

advertisement | advertise on newsday