The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office presented results of six months of work during a Dec. 30 press conference.
Since the June 17 crash that took the lives of four teen girls and injured another, the Sheriff’s Office has spent more than 400 hours investigating tips in efforts to pinpoint who provided the alcohol that was found in four of the teenagers systems.
“We have not stopped thinking of the families since this happened,” Sheriff Jeff Davis said. “We keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”
Through its investigation — which included about $6,000 in funds from Project Extra Mile and the Highway Safety Office, along with help from the Nebraska State Patrol, and the Bellevue, La Vista and Papillion police departments — the Sheriff’s Office followed up on 97 tips regarding the accident, conducting more than 40 interviews and serving 22 search warrants.
Three minor-in-possession citations were filed for those drinking after hours on school grounds. One arrest was made for fake identification and 12 teenagers were arrested for attempting to shoplift alcohol.
“Sadly, as of now, we have not found that person or persons involved in providing the alcohol,” Davis said.
He continued that while some question why the Sheriff’s Office is so set on finding them, police would not be doing their job if they did not pursue every opportunity to ensure that nothing like this happens again.
“Here’s the deal: we can’t let it go,” Davis said. “We have to do this to make sure no one else goes through this again. These parents have gone through something most of us can’t imagine. Several of them want to get to the bottom of this and find the people who provided the alcohol.”
The Sheriff’s Office will continue to pursue any leads it can, with hopes that sharing it’s current status in the investigation will help spur new leads.
The reward for information has reached $14,500. People with information may call Crime Stoppers at 402-592-7867 or leave an anonymous tip at apps.sarpy.com/sheriff/crimestoppers/default.html.
The investigation also revealed that many youth carry fake identification and store alcohol in water bottles, purchasing water bottles filled with straight vodka for $5 to $10.
“We believe it’s time to step up and ask parents to be parents,” Davis said. “This is about holding people accountable. We don’t want that to put fear in the people not coming forward, but we don’t want this to happen again. The best we can do is enforce the law.”
Davis encouraged parents to know their children’s passwords to their phones and social media and to look for fake I.D.
“This problem is not a Gretna problem,” Davis said. “It is at least countywide and probably metro area-wide. The accident really has had no ill effect on juveniles wanting to consume alcohol and obtaining alcohol, which is extremely unfortunate.”