31 at party in city face alcohol charge

Posted: February 12, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — The party ended early at a city residence Saturday morning after several under-age participants were allegedly caught with alcohol.

The investigation is still under way, but city police spokeswoman Lauren Cummings said 31 party-goers between 18 and 20 were charged with under-age possession of alcohol.

The homeowner, Carissa Helm, 22, of Winchester was charged with aiding or abetting under-age possession of alcohol.

Shenandoah University spokeswoman Emily Burner confirmed Monday that Helm is a student there. It is unclear if some or all of the others charged also are SU students.

According to a search warrant — filed Monday in Winchester Circuit Court — officers were called to 675 National Ave. just before 11:30 p.m. Friday after a witness reported multiple “juveniles” entering the home with alcohol containers.

Once at the house, police said they saw several people who appeared to be under-age in the basement playing beer pong.

Helm stated to officers that “mostly” everyone was over the legal age to drink, according to the warrant.

From 50 to 100 people and numerous alcohol containers were in the residence, the warrant states.

Burner said SU’s policies on alcohol coincide with state law and that any student breaking those laws would be in violation of the student conduct policy.

She added that the school has internal procedures that address policy violations.

— Contact Melissa Boughton at mboughton@winchesterstar.com