About 230 people were arrested throughout a rowdy weekend that, according to officials, featured public intoxication and disorderly behavior at a yearly Jeep gathering in Texas. Maj. Ray Nolen, the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, stated that it had been preparing for the well-liked annual Crystal Beach festival for three months.
Nolen told reporters on Sunday that “this event is usually very taxing on our resources.” He noted that the event, which runs from Thursday through Sunday, was attended by more than 120 law enforcement personnel.
According to CNN affiliate KTRK, more than 200 accusations were brought on Saturday. The unofficial festival, largely known through word of mouth, involves thousands of people descending on the beach in Jeeps and other vehicles to drink and party.
However, scores of arrests and hospitalizations occur yearly along with the hordes of music-blaring beachgoers who park and drive only feet from the Gulf of Mexico, according to KRPC. Last year, the event spiraled out of hand to the point that a sheriff’s deputy sergeant was struck by a car while directing traffic and sustained broken legs and an arm.
The annual event initially only attracted Jeep enthusiasts, but Nolen said over the last several years, the event has drawn attendees from a broader range of backgrounds.
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According to Nolen, official Jeep organizations and enthusiasts started leaving the Crystal Beach region of Texas’ Bolivar Peninsula, which borders the Gulf of Mexico, to have meetings elsewhere in the state. However, this hasn’t stopped other people from visiting the area.
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According to Nolen, who spoke to CNN, emergency personnel responded to about 65 service calls on Crystal Beach about the Jeep incident.
Since the incident started on Thursday, EMS personnel have taken roughly 40 patients to the hospital “for various minor injuries and illnesses,” Nolen told reporters on Sunday.
One person passed away during the event in 2021, and another fatality was reported in 2019, according to KTRK. The wild partying has turned deadly in previous years.
“We’re just trying to maintain order and keep everybody safe,” Nolen said.