BIG RAPIDS, MI – Mecosta County Sheriff Todd Purcell and Chief Prosecutor Pete Jaklevic addressed the media about the ongoing investigation and what charges have been brought against those involved in the ProjectP Rave that occurred this past weekend at a rural farm in Mecosta County.
Charges have been handed down for three individuals who were involved in the organization of the party. The Rave started Saturday night and lasted into early Sunday and drew more than 2,000 people
James Michael Taylor, 21 years old, of Blanchard, Michigan, the owner of the property where the party took place, Daniel Edward Misner, 21, of Howard City, and Brittany Lee Johnson, 20, of Cedar Springs, are facing a felony charge of furnishing a place for consideration, which if convicted, could result in a year-long sentence behind bars and up to $1,000 in fines.
The charges are based on the facts that the three are accused of maintaining, operating or furnishing a location and collecting fees for people to drink alcohol without having a state-issued liquor license.
Brittany Johnson was arrested Wednesday evening and is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon around 2p.m.
In an interesting turn of events, James Taylor who had said previously during an interview that he would face up to the charges has since fled the State of Michigan and is believed to be headed to California. He can be extradited back to Michigan when he is located by police.
The party is still under investigation.
Authorities say several people were treated on scene and taken to the hospital for alcohol and drug related injuries and overdoses. Those requiring medical attention were transported to Kelsey Hospital in Lakeview, Mount Pleasant Hospital and Spectrum Health in Big Rapids.
An alleged sexual assault of a 19 year old Mount Pleasant girl is also believed to have happened in a vehicle while attending the Rave. A group of friends followed one ambulance away from the party. They said that the woman inside the ambulance had been gang raped. “Four men carried her down the road,” said a friend of the alleged victim. “She’s not doing well.” The criminal sexual conduct report is still under investigation.
Around 3:30 a.m. Sunday, someone crashed a car into a home in the Village of Mecosta. The driver told authorities he had just come from the party, and Michigan State Police say his blood-alcohol content (BAC) level was .12. Michigan’s legal limit to drive is .08.
More than 20 police officers from seven departments responded to the party. The rave was not broken up under the concerns or fear of so many driving drunk or under the influence of drugs and causing more injuries, according the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office.
Further charges are expected to the brought in this case.