Longtime, very visible, South Lake Tahoe resident has run-in with law enforcement

Laney Griffo
Tahoe Daily Tribune
South Lake Tahoe longtime resident Carol Christensen had a run-in with law enforcement this week.
Claire Cudahy / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A longtime South Lake Tahoe resident had a public run-in with law enforcement Tuesday and was arrested after failing to yield to authorities.

Carol Christensen, better known as “Christmas Carol” and the lady who waves and blows kisses to cars on Lake Tahoe Blvd, was arrested just after 10 a.m. Nov. 19 for getting too close to traffic and refusing a South Lake Tahoe police officer’s command to leave the road, according to a press release from the city.

Part of the arrest was captured on video by a witness, who released it on social media which led to a firestorm of comments.

The incident began when an officer on patrol saw Christensen on the side of the road near Brockway. The city said in the release that “the officer’s dash cam showed she was on the road’s shoulder very close to crossing the line into the road.”

The officer used his public address system to tell Christensen to get out of the road. When she didn’t respond, he turned his car around to discuss the matter. 

He asked Christensen 13 times to get out of the road. 

According to a statement from the city, “The officer told Christensen he didn’t want her to get hit by a car. She continued to refuse and then became aggressive toward the officer. He then had no choice but to take her into custody for her own safety.”

While the dash cam was not pointed at the incident, audio that the city also released, picked up the discussion between Christensen and the officer. 

The officer clearly told her multiple times that she needed to get on the sidewalk or she’d be arrested. She responded that she was putting him under citizens arrest and told him people don’t belong in cages. 

Christensen became more and more upset, until at one point, she can be heard yelling and the officer tells her to roll onto to her stomach. 

According to a witness who posted about the incident on Facebook, the officer threw Christensen to the ground, but that witness hasn’t responded to questions from the Tribune.

The officer says in the audio, that was picked up by the dash cam, that she fell to the ground.

The city told the Tribune it believes the officer followed protocol and faces no punishment at this time. 

According to the city’s statement, “she was cited and released for obstructing or delaying a police officer in carrying out his duties.”

The Tribune previously wrote a feature about Christensen, her 40-plus years in South Lake Tahoe and her early years that are filled with stories of acrobatics, stunts, movies and the circus.

The Tahoe Daily Tribune is a sister publication of the Sierra Sun.

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