Orange Crush: Over 50 people arrested on Tybee Island during beach bash

Police arrested dozens of people and issued more than 100 traffic citations during the weekend's massive Orange Crush party at Georgia's largest public beach.

Officials estimate more than 6,000 people packed Tybee Island's beach for the spring celebration.

The island has grappled with the April beach party since students at Savannah State University, a historically Black school, started it more than 30 years ago. Residents regularly complained about loud music, trash littering the sand and revelers urinating in yards.

This year, officials with the Tybee Island Police Department say they made 54 arrests from April 19 through 21. That's three times as many as in 2023, when officers arrested 18 people.

Part of the reason for the higher number of arrests was the increased police presence during the party. Last year, record crowds left the small police force scrambling to handle a flood of emergency calls reporting gunfire, drug overdoses, traffic jams and fist fights. For 2024, officials say they are prepared with more officers from around the area on duty and road closures.

Authorities say they issued 111 traffic citations and five beach citations - an increase from the 37 issued last year.

Investigators also recovered three stolen firearms and a stolen car.

Officials say there was also a police chase that ended with a PIT maneuver during the party. The incident is now under investigation by the Georgia State Patrol.

Volunteers clean up Tybee Island after Orange Crush

Many of this year's attendees stayed behind to help the Tybee Island Ocean Rescue lifeguards pick up trash.

Officials say they were able to fill up more than 10 carts of trash on Sunday afternoon. 

Interim City Manager Michelle Owens told WTOC that the effort to keep the beach clean has been a "community effort."

The cleanup continued through the week to ensure the remaining trash doesn't become ocean pollutants.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.