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Birthday crash almost snuffs 3 lives

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

A birthday celebration gone bad nearly cost the lives of three Bandera men during the early morning hours of Friday, April 27.

According to witnesses, Nancy Cruz, 28, of Bandera, was celebrating her birthday at the Longhorn Saloon on Bandera's Main Street. Shortly after midnight, Cruz left the bar and "drove her 1999 Mustang south on Highway 16 at a high rate of speed," preliminary Department of Public Safety reports state.

In the vicinity of the River Oaks Motel and Sonic, she apparently struck a motorcycle from behind and two pedestrians who were walking along the side of the road.

Cruz fled the scene, according to DPS reports.

Both pedestrians were air-lifted to University Hospital in San Antonio with serious injuries. The motorcycle rider was transported to Boerne Methodist by ambulance.

Cruz was arrested later in the day after turning herself in and, according to Bandera County Sheriff's Office arrest reports, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

According to Capt. Charlie Hicks at BCSO, "there may be possible additional charges, pending a completed investigation."

According to Hicks, a Texas Ranger assisted the DPS with the investigation. He was not able to confirm if the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) was conducting an investigation regarding Cruz's condition at the Longhorn.

The motorcycle rider, 18-year-old Dakota Bates, had left work at the Longhorn where he was reportedly helping with the karaoke and on his way home, traveling south on Main Street.

According to a close family member, Bates "is home and is recovering."
The two injured pedestrians were Claude "Cowboy" Beghly, 43, and Eric Armstrong, 29, both of Bandera.

Beghly had been released from the hospital by Monday, April 30.

According to Armstrong's father, Eloy Armstrong, the young man suffered from bleeding in the brain and a lacerated liver, among other injuries.

"Eric and Cowboy were walking either to or from the Shell Station," said Eloy. "They had nothing to do with it, they were just innocent bystanders."

The father was referring to rumors flying around town that Cruz had left the Longhorn angry at a bartender who had asked her to leave, waited outside until the bartender got off work, and then ran over him. However, Bates was not working as a bartender.

As of late Monday afternoon, the younger Armstrong was still in intensive care, heavily sedated, but improving, his father said.

Cruz bonded out of jail on a $75,000 bond on Saturday, April 28.

BCSO dispatch records show the accident happening at 12:27 am.

The investigation into the accident is continuing under the direction of the DPS with assistance from the BCSO and the Texas Rangers.

Pictured: Photo by Judith Pannebaker
From left, Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Richard Jacobs of Austin; Sr. Cpl. Keith Olive of Kerrville, a member of the DPS State Crash Team; and Trooper Eric Morgan, a member of the Bandera District Crash Team, reconstruct an major vehicular accident that occurred on Highway 16 North within the city limits during the early morning hours of Friday, April 27.