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Crazy weekend reported in Bandera

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

According to reports, emergency calls and incidents relating to last weekend's Thunder in the Hills motorcycle rally stretched law enforcement authorities to the limits throughout the county. Although five motorcycle accidents were reported, no fatalities occurred. Just in case, however, AirLife was staged at a private park along the north end of Main Street.

Texas Department of Public Safety administrators assigned extra troopers from Kerrville and Hondo to patrol the county highways. The Bandera County Sheriff's Office fielded a full contingent of deputies, but City Marshal James "Charlie" Hicks had to make do with his three officers.

"The weekends that promote drinking stretch us thin in the city," Hicks said. "It seems we were taking care of calls constantly the entire weekend." Problematic celebrations, he said, included the recent bike rally as well as Cowboy Mardi Gras and Hunters' Weekend.

From Thursday, April 4, to Sunday, April 7, DPS troopers arrested and charged 13 people with evading arrest, possession of PG1 controlled substances, possession of marijuana, first DWIs, public intoxication, possession of controlled substances and dangerous drugs, driving without a license, felony third DWI and for having a felony blue warrant.

BCSO deputies arrested five people, charging them with having misdemeanor warrants from an outside agency, one first DWI, possession of marijuana, a felony third DWI. Additionally one woman hit the trifecta after being detained for assault with bodily injury, assaulting a public servant and resisting arrest.

City of Bandera deputy marshals collared two people for resisting arrest and public intoxication. However, they contended with several other incidents, including assisting with searches for suspects evading arrest, dealing with a possible abduction (for more details on this incident, refer to the article "Officers foil ..." on this page), responding to noise complaints and traffic enforcement.

In particular, several incidents stand out. On Friday, April 5, after Chief Deputy Marshal Scott MacNaughton stopped a cyclist for speeding, the situation escalated into a bout of fisticuffs between the suspect and seven other officers, including deputies, DPS troopers and a Bandera County constable. Even Sheriff Dan Butts showed up for that call. Additionally, a DPS helicopter circled overhead during the scuffle.

Due to his combative nature, the suspect was tasered and restrained before being transported to the county jail, where he was charged with resisting arrest. As a serviceman, he blamed PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) on his extremely erratic and dangerous behavior.

Because he was charged with a Class A misdemeanor, the suspect will face adjudication in county court.

A few hours later, MacNaughton also dealt with an "extremely intoxicated" male who was attempting to enter a nursing center on Montague Drive after hours. Due to his condition, jail personnel refused to book the suspect, so MacNaughton transported the man to a hospital emergency room in Kerrville. There, a physician said the man was simply intoxicated and released him for incarceration.

So, with the suspect fighting, cursing, yelling and "hitting his head on the window" throughout the return trip, MacNaughton took him back to jail.

At approximately 7:30 pm, Saturday, April 6, Deputy Marshal Ruben Nino was involved in a accident in his patrol vehicle on Main Street when a motorcycle rear-ended his patrol vehicle. Apparently a passenger on the cycle fell off, possibly suffering a broken arm. DPS Trooper Eric Morgan is investigating the accident.

As MacNaughton was going off duty at 2 am early Sunday morning, he heard a motorcycle engine revving - loudly and continuously. He also observed white smoke and heard tires squealing in front of a watering hole on Main Street. Arriving at the scene, MacNaughton turned on his emergency lights as two cyclists continued to rev their engines. After being questioned, both asserted they "had not consumed" any alcohol that evening.

As MacNaughton questioned the two bikers, he observed two different bikers leave the bar on their cycles and apparently careen into each other in the street, prompting both bikes - and operators - to fall over in the middle of Main Street. (Those of a certain age are asked to picture the little old man on the tricycle from "Laugh-In.") BCSO deputies assisted Nino with the falling-over-in-the-middle-of-Highway 16 incident.

At that point, a melee involving about 10 people broke out in front of the bar, which also had to be quelled. Since the original two bikers had, in fact, called Cowboy Cab, they were not detained further - although one was charged with violating a city ordinance, peeling out within the city limits, MacNaughton said.

To remedy the manpower shortage on certain celebratory weekends, Hicks said he would discuss the situation with City Administrator Mike Cardenas during upcoming budget workshops. "We could possibly hire contract employees for these weekends," Hicks said. "Something to give us a little help and relief. These weekends keep growing and growing and growing."

For his part, BCSO Chief Deputy Matt King also noted that it was a busy weekend, but there were no motorcycle deaths, which he deemed "a plus."

King added, "There were also no incidents at Mansfield Park, except EMS was called there for chest pains."

And, did we mention, a report of reckless driving that featured a woman dancing on the hood of a pickup truck as it was tooling along? Seeing that spectacle might have resulted in others suffering chest pains.