BOLIVAR PENINSULA, Texas — A Galveston County Sheriff's Office deputy was among eight people airlifted to the hospital this weekend, according to reports. Another 30 people were transported by ambulance.
The annual Go Topless Jeep Weekend took place Saturday at Crystal Beach on Bolivar Peninsula. The event usually leads to big and rowdy crowds.
The deputy was responding to a crash around 1:30 a.m. near Highway 87 and Holiday Drive when he was struck by a suspected drunk driver in another vehicle, according to the Galveston County Daily News. The deputy was identified as Sgt. John Hamm. He suffered two broken legs, an arm injury and a head injury, according to reports. Hamm was still in surgery as of Sunday afternoon. A suspect was arrested in connection with the crash.
More than 100 people were arrested on the peninsula over the weekend, according to authorities. Deputies said they responded to multiple assaults, fights and DWIs on the peninsula over the weekend.
It was the fifth year Courtney Thompson attended the Go Topless event.
"It was pretty crazy. I mean, there was people everywhere,” she said.
Thompson wasn’t shocked by the number of arrests made by police.
"I'm not surprised. One guy told me that he saw a guy get in a fight right in front of him and he was bleeding on the ground," beachgoer Courtney Thompson said.
The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office said there was a significant increase in the crowds at this year’s event, which brings out Jeep enthusiasts from all over. The overwhelming calls for service forced the department to request help from outside agencies, according to District Manager Doug Saunders. While the Galveston County Sheriff's Office planned for the unofficial event months in advance, even more help had to be requested.
"Today we've seen an increase in calls for service for EMS and fire assistance," Saunders said. "We've had limited communications due to the amount of people on the peninsula."
Other agencies included North Montgomery County, Cy-Fair Fire and Beaumont first responders. Saunders said the incidents they responded to were anywhere from minor emergencies to major trauma.
As hundreds of Jeeps lined up to board the Galveston Ferry on Sunday morning, some were not pleased with the way things went. Thompson said she was disappointed that the event was overshadowed by violence and destruction.
"It just sucks that people have to come out and act a fool and leave trash ... that’s not what it’s about," Thompson said.
No details or updates were given on the 38 people hospitalized at this time.