By Mike LaBella firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — HAVERHILL — When neighbors of rural Brandy Brow Road saw flames in the woods Saturday night, they feared a fire might be burning out of control.
They called police who discovered the fire was not out of control, but that several teenagers were gathered around a fire, where they were drinking.
The teens, who ranged in age from 16 to 19, were charged with being minors under 21 in possession of alcohol, police said.
Police said the party took place in a wooded area near Brandy Brow Road, a residential neighborhood just off Amesbury Road (Route 110).
The incident was reported to police on Saturday at 9:30 p.m. Police arrested seven teenagers.
Police Deputy Chief Donald Thompson said patrolmen Dennis Moriarty, Adam Durkee and Carlos Arriaga, along with Sgt. John Rosario, responded to a report from a neighbor who called police to say there was a fire in the woods.
When the officers arrived at the scene, they found the teenagers sitting around a campfire drinking beer, police said.
Police charged Mary O’Regan, 17, of 4 Ridge Road, and Nolan Brent, 19, of 917 Amesbury Road with being minors under 21 in possession of alcohol. Police brought the same charges against the five juveniles who were with them. The Eagle-Tribune is withholding their names because of their ages.
According to officials at Haverhill District Court, O’Regan and Brent were admitted into a youthful diversion program overseen by Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s Office. The program, for first-time offenders of non-violent crimes, consists of community service, counseling and restitution when appropriate.
Officials said that if they successfully complete the program, they will have no criminal record.
The five juveniles will face the same charges in juvenile court, officials said, and are expected to be offered a juvenile diversion program overseen by Blodgett’s office.