CONNEAUT — A Conneaut woman faces a felony charge for her role in a drinking party attended by nearly 20 juveniles and young adults last weekend at her Middle Road home, according to a Conneaut Municipal Court spokeswoman.

Irene Metcalf, 46, 405 Middle Road, was charged Thursday afternoon with tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, according to the spokeswoman. She also faces misdemeanor charges of obstructing official business and furnishing alcohol to underage persons.

Five young adults, all under the legal drinking age, also were cited, along with an unknown number of juveniles, police said. Some of the juveniles have been suspended from school activities for their participation in the party, according to reports.

The adults charged for underage consumption of alcohol were: Joseph Hewel, 19, Wattsburg, Pa.; Marcus Distelrath, 18, 235 Reig Ave., Conneaut; William Severino, 18, 4102 Denise Drive, Ashtabula; Jared Moisio, 18, 405 Middle Road; and Peter Garza, 18, 427 Jackson St., Conneaut, according to a court spokeswoman. Hewel also was charged with obstruction of official business, according to the court spokeswoman.

No court dates had been scheduled as of early Thursday afternoon.

A police report stated 13 juveniles were at the house when police arrived at 1:30 a.m. Sunday. All the under-21 people, including the five charged, were asked to submit to breath tests, according to a police report. One juvenile refused the test, officers said.

The people who tested positive — along with the juvenile who refused the test — were cited for underage consumption and underage possession of alcohol, police said.

Officers gave this account of the incident:

An anonymous caller tipped police to an underage drinking party at the Middle Road location. Upon arrival, police heard a large number of people inside. Through doors and windows, police observed a group of juveniles with beer cans and bottles, consuming alcohol.

Officers knocked on the door, and the juveniles “scattered” through the house, collecting beer cans, beer bottles and cups, police said. Some of the house lights were turned off. Police knocked on the door for three to four minutes, all the while watching juveniles scurry through the house, “attempting to dispose of the alcohol,” according to a report.

Just as police were ready to place a phone call to the address, officers saw Metcalf walking through the house, carrying beer cans and cups to the kitchen. Police attempted to get her attention, but she continued to walk back and forth through the rooms, officers said.

She eventually came to the door, police said. Metcalf initially denied alcohol was on the premises, but then said she was asleep at the time and unaware alcohol was being consumed, police said.

It was unknown Thursday how many of the juveniles were cited into Juvenile Court; the police report did not list that number.

Some of the juveniles attend Conneaut schools, and a few have been suspended from sports teams and other extracurricular activities for violating district rules pertaining to alcohol, officials said.

Superintendent Kent Houston declined to say Thursday how many students have been suspended from activities.

“There is a very specific board policy that dictates how to handle this situation,” he said. “All who violated the policy were subject to discipline.”

In addition, students who participate in extracurricular activities also sign off on a code of conduct and get special education on the subject.

Houston said the party and its consequences were regrettable.

“These are good kids who made a poor choice,” he said.

Houston said Conneaut High School administrators were taking heat for enforcing the rules.

“We’re trying to be fair and impartial in following policy,” he said. “I have the utmost faith in our three (high school) administrators. If all this controversy and harassment (aimed at CHS administrators) makes one kid think twice, then it’s all worth it.”

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