Tour group allegedly harassed by drunk visitors on Cape Poge

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A group of men in this white Jeep allegedly harassed a tour group on Chappaquiddick Saturday. Police are investigating.

A Trustees of Reservations tour group was allegedly impeded and harassed by four Florida men in a Jeep on Saturday. The same men may have been involved in another incident at the Chappy Ferry, according to Chappy Ferry owner Capt. Peter Wells and Edgartown Police. 

Chris Kennedy, steward manager for The Trustees’ Vineyard property, told The Times a group of visitors being driven on Cape Poge in a Trustees four-wheel-drive tour vehicle were blocked by a group of people in a Jeep. The operator of the tour vehicle, a Trustees seasonal employee, reported the occupants of the Jeep stepped out and proceeded to make cocktails, Kennedy said. 

The incident hit Facebook Saturday when Kelley Ellsworth, one of the people on the tour, posted a photo of the Jeep, including its license plate.

“This white SUV was filled with drunk guys on Chappy harassing a group of Asian and African American participants of a tour. At one point they blocked the way and would not move,” Ellsworth wrote. In the extensive comment chain below her post, Ellsworth noted the men were “drunk and trying to stir things up.”

Ellsworth could not be reached for comment.

Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee said his department is in the midst of an investigation of the Jeep driver and those with him. The occupants of the Jeep were all Florida men, Chief McNamee said, and may have all returned to Florida. The driver of the Jeep, he said, was interviewed by Edgartown Police Sunday, and has been cooperative. Edgartown Police subsequently interviewed other witnesses, and are hoping to interview occupants of another tour vehicle that may have been in the vicinity. Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, Chief McNamee declined to offer too much detail of what he described as an “altercation” that appears to have involved one or more occupants of the Jeep voicing the names of both President Donald Trump in an unspecified context and an inquiry as to where the body of Mary Jo Kopechne could be found. He did say there doesn’t appear to be evidence of a racial element to the incident, and that a preliminary examination of what transpired revealed the Jeep occupants’ behavior may have been “boorish,” as opposed to unlawful.

The Jeep itself, McNamee said, is registered to an Oak Bluffs resident who does not appear to be part of the incident. 

Nevertheless, Kennedy said the Trustees requested revocation of the Jeep’s overland permit, and McNamee confirmed that has happened. 

McNamee said there may have also been an incident between the men in the Jeep and a Chappy Ferry operator. Wells said he learned some people in a Jeep may have jumped the queue in the ferry line. 

McNamee said his department is playing a bit of catch-up because the incident on Cape Poge was reported the next day. 

“We wish this had been reported to us Saturday,” he said.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t you mean “tourists allegedly harassed by drunk tourists?” Why the difference from tourist to visitor? Is one better than the other?

    • Good point. We meant tour group. Trustees offer guided tours and this was one of them, as the story indicates. We’ve clarified the headline.

  2. Regardless… These alleged guys are allegedly chickens**t bullies because they have that alleged pack mentality. If any one of them were alone they allegedly wouldn’t have the alleged nerve to do or say anything… allegedly

    It’ll come around

  3. What about the people arrested for ‘Copulating ‘ on the Jetty in OB? Where is that coverage–or perhaps lack of coverage? They were cuffed, booked, and spanked.

  4. As a visitor who enjoys OSV access to Cape Poge every summer, I have never complained about the cost of a permit or lack of day-permits because it helps keep people like this out of the refuge. Whoever owns this Jeep in OB clearly directed this crew to head out there and shouldn’t be able to renew future OSV permits. The Trustees are the only reason we have access to this beautiful place and to disrespect them is illogical. When I saw the headline I pictured some college-aged kids but this one guy looks like a sad excuse for an adult trying to relive his glory days. I bet he can barely figure out how to air down without spilling his cocktail. How great would it have been if they got stuck after this incident and needed to be winched out by the Trustees? No gear whatsoever in a stripped-down borderline rental Jeep. If I came across these goons I would have wished them luck digging themselves out with nothing but a cooler haha. Shame… shame… shame…

  5. This makes me sad. Similar to how I felt last weekend at the Senge boat launch where two men “voicing the the name of President Donald Trump” continued to yell at me and my family after we asked that they not use the N-word in front of our children.

  6. It is a shame — probably frightening too for the tour group – I am stunned that the Trustees didn’t immediately phone the police both for the tour group’s safety but for the public safety as well. Isn’t that why the Town finally agreed to erect that ugly albatross of a cell tower on Chappy in the first place? What a shame that after all the drama on safety and the amplification provided by the Chris Kennedy and The Trustees they chose to not even report the incident and allowed drunken tourists to continue on driving on the Reservation as well as Chappy public roads that are loaded with cyclists, joggers and walkers this time of year. I would expect much more from the Trustees in their stewardship and would hope they feel obligated and accountable to report such an incident immediately after all wasn’t safety the number one issue for the cell tower?

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