SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) - The City of South Lake Tahoe says they plan to meet and determine if changes need to be made to the SnowGlobe festivals permit requirements to increase safety. This after 19-year-old Alyssa Byrne died wandering in the cold after attending the festival on New Year’s Eve. While her exact cause of death still hasn't been determined and there's a lot of factors which might have played into it, two questions are being raised by News 4 viewers. First: why was she walking? And were there transportation issues at the festival which need to be fixed?
When Alyssa's body was found in a snow bank off Pioneer Trail the Douglas County Undersheriff, Paul Howell, revealed one of many possible explanation why she might have been walking in the freezing temperatures.
“There were some transportation issues at the event. Quite long lines and a lot of people who attend the event decided to walk back instead of taking the shuttle bus,” he said.
South Lake Tahoe City Manager, Nancy Kerry, says they've worked with SnowGlobe over the past year to help resolve concerns like transportation of the up to 15,000 attendees every day. And she did not see any big issues with this year’s event.
“Every possible bus and shuttle was there. I personally saw approximately 30 of them in line,” Kerry said.
The City Manager says event organizers set the goal on a stopwatch to get everyone out of here within an hour after the event ended. And she says for the most part they did it.
“Certainly everybody was out and everybody got out as expeditiously as possible,” Kerry said,
Joseph Leer however says transportation was so bad there, he was able to make $2,000 driving people back in his personal vehicle because concert goers had to wait so long to get on a bus.
“Hours upon hours,” he said. “You know people packed up. Everybody shoulder to shoulder trying to stay warm and get on that bus. The shuttles just were not effective. They need to reconsider what they are doing.”
A SnowGlobe spokesperson was not available for comment Tuesday, but had previously sent News 4 a statement sidestepping questions about transportation saying only:
"We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Alyssa Byrne. Our deepest sympathies go out to Alyssa’s family and friends. We appreciate the quick response from South Lake Tahoe officials in responding to the investigation."
And despite these different viewpoints, the one thing everyone agreed on was that once more information is learned about what happened exactly happened to Alyssa, they'll be able to clear up what if anything should change with the SnowGlobe festival.