Did alcohol play a role? Almost certainly.
Jeep owners are a unique bunch. They love their Jeeps, and they love the outdoor lifestyle. You know, like camping. Or the Go Topless Beach Jeep Weekend.
According to local news affiliate KSAT, a Jeep owner gathering at Crystal Beach, Texas didn't exactly go as planned with no less than ten major auto-pedestrian crashes, eight major car crashes, and 14 minor collisions. A Houston TV station reported there were 400 calls made to 911 through Friday and Saturday, and the police ended up arresting 68 people. The majority of those arrests were alcohol-related. There was so much chaos in trying to reach the wounded that a LifeFlight helicopter had to be brought in as a regular ambulance because there weren't enough standard emergency vehicles left.
Jeep Weekend, an annual event held on the Bolivar Peninsula that's about an hour and a half from Houston, draws "thousands of Jeep lovers to Bolivar Peninsula and Crystal Beach… for a relaxed weekend on the beachfront." Local law enforcement and emergency response officials would disagree. Officials had to deal with incidents including a man falling out of a truck, a women involved in a head-on collision, and – wait for it – a man whose head was run over after falling out of a truck bed. Several fights also broke out as country music blared in the background. So, what made last weekend's events different and far crazier than previous years?
Police blamed the mayhem on large crowds, thanks in part to the Texas Open Beaches Act that gives free public access to state-owned beaches. Crowd control becomes extra difficult. To make matters worse, there was total gridlock in the area that made it extremely difficult for police to gain access to the main event. Fortunately, no one died but surely some lessons have been learned and will, hopefully, be applied for next year. And in case you're wondering, the term "Go Topless" refers to the Jeep Wrangler's removable roof. What else did you think it meant?