Nashville police are criminally charging three women including a registered nurse for violating Metro Health orders after hosting a large house party on Halloween.
Roommates Madilyn Dennington, Bailey Mills and Olivia Noe, all 23, were issued misdemeanor citations in connection with an Oct. 31 football watch party at their East Nashville home on the 1200 block of Boscobel Street south of Fatherland Street.
Police spokesman Don Aaron said the women were served with court summonses on Monday and are slated to appear on the charges Dec. 16.
According to an arrest affidavit, officers responded about 6:30 p.m. to a complaint about a loud party at the home, heard music blaring and saw several people in the yard. In all, police said they found more than 100 people inside and outside the home.
When officers spoke to Dennington, Mills and Noe outside, they told police they had organized a watch party at their home for a football game, the affidavit states. The officers told the women that at that time, no more than 25 people were permitted to gather in Davidson County unless the gathering was approved by the city.
The women then went inside and told everyone to leave, police reported.
Police then alerted Metro Health officials about the party. Hugh Atkins, Metro Health’s environmental health services director, confirmed the Health Department did not receive an event application for the gathering.
Early last week, Nashville instituted a “rule of eight,” limiting both public and private events to eight people as the holidays approached — down from the previous 25-person cap. Tighter capacity restrictions on restaurants and bars went into effect in the city on Monday.
On Tuesday, Davidson County reportedan increase of 851 cases in 24 hours — the second-highest ever daily increase. So far 369 people in Nashville have died from the virus.
Meanwhile, Monday’s statewide numbers marked a record high increase in cases. The Tennessee Department of Health announced an increase of 7,975 cases and 48 deaths over the previous 24 hours. So far the virus had caused 4,602 deaths statewide.
A nurse and her roommates
Dennington is a registered nurse at TriStar Skyline Medical Center, authorities said.
It was not immediately known whether the hospital had taken any disciplinary action against Dennington. She did not return an immediate request for comment and blocked her Facebook page from a Tennessean reporter shortly after being contacted.
“Properly following pandemic regulations is extremely important to help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Anna-Lee Cockrill, a spokeswoman for TriStar, said regarding the party. “We are looking into this further.”
According to their social media pages, all three roommates formerly attended the University of Mississippi before moving to Nashville, and Dennington and Noe both graduated from the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Noe and Mills also could not immediately be reached for comment.
More than 50 arrests, 315 citations
Police data shows at least 50 people have been arrested and more than 315 have been cited under local emergency health orders that went into effect earlier this year.
Just this weekend, Nashville police issued nine citations and made one arrest after people refused to wear face masks in public, a mandated action in Davidson County.
As of late November at least dozen people had been arrested on Class A misdemeanor charges after police said they held large house parties and events. Some of them entertained as many as 600 people at a time, police reported. If convicted, they face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
As of Tuesday, only one of the arrested defendants had pleaded guilty: Jeffrey Mathews, a 36-year-old Goodlettsville dentist arrested for throwing an Aug. 1 house party on Fern Avenue in East Nashville. He was one of two men criminally charged for the party that drew hundreds.
Mathews, who apologized for his actions, was sentenced to three months of probation and eight hours of community service. His co-defendant, Christopher “Shi” Eubank, 40, remained at large Tuesday after failing to appear in court in October for a hearing on three counts of violating emergency health orders.
This is a developing story.