FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. - Families on Flagler Beach say Spring Break 2022 has been quiet and beautiful but ask people around the bar, and they say something very different.
A manhunt ended with the suspect hiding on a random person’s porch. A man passed out in his car was dragged out by deputies with fentanyl and thousands of dollars in cash on him. This was just some of the madness Flagler County deputies said they responded to this weekend.
"Yeah, it feels like they unleashed everyone."
"They’re itching to get out and when they do get out, you just open the cage. There you go."
Flagler County sheriff's deputies responded to more than 900 calls last week and 200 traffic stops this weekend. Sheriff Rick Staly said spring break is always wild, but not like this.
"This is a trend that’s being seen around the country. Everyone’s tired of being controlled by COVID and they’re out now and still have the anger," said Sheriff Staly.
Bar managers say the COVID-19 effect is real.
"Because of COVID, we got vaccines now, mask mandates are a little slower, so I feel like it has been a wild spring break for sure," said Cayla Capri, who works at Finn’s Beachside Pub.
"People are suffering, and it’s going to start to show toward the ends of it. You’re going to start seeing what happened because of those lockdowns," said Jim O’Malley, who’s visiting from New York.
The sheriff also blames higher prices and inflation for the incidents. As spring breakers head home, he has a warning. "Don’t bring your rowdiness from the north and think you can get away with it here in Flagler County because we will arrest you," said Sheriff Staly.
Sheriff Staly said he has been working with other sheriff’s departments from across the country to find solutions to the escalating violence.