State agent recommends suspending Soaky Mountain Waterpark alcohol license

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SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Following the fatal July 31 shooting in the parking lot of Soaky Mountain Waterpark, an agent from the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission has recommended the park’s alcohol license be suspended. The park has received two citations from the state regulators for a dozen alcohol-related incidents over the past two months.

The Sevierville attraction has received a second citation from the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission relating to four alcohol-related incidents that occurred after the first citation.

Police responded to the July 31 fatal shooting, where one woman was killed and another woman was injured after a physical altercation-turned-shooting in the parking lot. Two suspects, 31-year-old Sarah Romine and 30-year-old Joshua Dannels were arrested at the scene.

Romine was charged with second-degree murder and multiple counts of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm while intoxicated; Dannels was charged with possession of a firearm while intoxicated.

The state agency issued the water park a citation on July 23 for failure to maintain the establishment’s compliance with state and local ordinances related to alcohol service. Sevierville Police responded to eight alcohol-related incidents at the park between June 1 – July 15, 2021. The citation led to a fine of $1,500.

A second citation was issued by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission on Aug. 6 in relation to the fatal July 31 shooting and three July 24 arrests. Police responded to three alcohol-related incidents during a four-hour period at the park on July 24, one day after the alcohol commission first issued a citation and fine.

The report recommends that the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission suspends the park’s alcohol license. The recommendation will go before the commission in a hearing where both parties can hear testimony from witnesses on the merits of the recommendation.

A man was issued several charges including driving under the influence, possession of a handgun while under the influence and an open container violation after he was pulled over in the waterpark parking lot while attempting to drive away. He was taken into custody around 8 p.m. on July 24 after refusing a field sobriety test. A search of his vehicle led to the discovery of a Glock 21 with extended magazines, several different types of ammunition, 1 gram of marijuana and a glass pipe with marijuana residue.

Just before 6 p.m., officers were forced to separate two parties involved in a verbal altercation. Three people were charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and inciting a riot. An investigative report from the state alcohol commission notes all three suspects were highly intoxicated.

A woman was charged with assault and public intoxication after officers responded to the park just after 4 p.m. on July 24. Investigators say she was yelling at the park staff and slapped the park manager in the face.

On Aug. 3, Soaky Mountain Waterpark’s general manager Dave Andrews released the following statement regarding the first citation:

“The safety of our staff and guests is always our top priority. Because of this, we are continually reviewing all of our operational policies and making adjustments to them to ensure that everyone enjoys Soaky in a responsible manner.”

Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected.

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