TAMPA, Fla. (970 WFLA) - It's called "wilding" or "raging"--groups of teens stampeding through the midway at the Florida State Fair during the first Friday of the fair.
It's been going on since the 90's. But Colonel Jim Previtera of the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office says this past Friday was the worst yet.
"There were large fights. Some estimates are that there were between 150 and 200 people engaged in a fray at any given time," said Previtera.
Previtera says innocent bystanders were victimized. Even sheriff's deputies were targeted, being pelted with candy apples and other things.
Ninety-nine people were ejected from the midway and there were 12 arrests, including many juveniles.
One 14-year-old who was ejected was struck and killed trying to cross I-4 Friday night. Previtera says none of those ejected where kicked off of fair property. But he says deputies were so overwhelmed, deputies didn't have time to notify each parent.
Previtera says there is now extra security for the rest of this year's fair, which runs through February 17th. He says there'll likely be some changes for next year's fair, including the possibility of limiting the hours students can get in for free. Currently, Bay Area students can get into the fair for free on the first Friday of the fair.
Photo Credit 970 WFLA/S. Parker