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More than 200 arrested for disorderly conduct at Texas Jeep event

By Elizabeth Delaney
|
May 23, 2023

The iconic “Go Topless Jeep Weekend” in Galveston County started out as a light-hearted celebration organized by Jeep enthusiasts to show off their vehicles. But over the years, it has been infiltrated by rowdy groups and law-breaking individuals who have given the event a bad reputation

This year's event, which started on Thursday, drew 80,000 people, and saw a doubling of the presence of Galveston County police personnel.

But even with the heavy law enforcement presence, Major Ray Nolen of the Galveston County Sheriff's office said that as of Sunday at 2:00 p.m., 234 arrests had been made, with a minimum of 30 of those being connected to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to Huston Public Media.

Jeep Weekend Event Denigrated into Serious Injuries, Gunshots, Armed Robbery

There were also some serious injuries. One involved a woman who was injured when she fell off of a vehicle on Friday, and another injury took place on Saturday when a man was walking along State Highway 87 and was hit by a vehicle. The driver of the vehicle was reportedly drunk at the time.

Both injured parties were airlifted to a nearby hospital.

There were also about 30 other people who were injured and transported to hospitals via an ambulance.

In addition, two people were shot, though the injuries weren't life-threatening, according to KRIV.

Another incident involved a gunman who approached one of the people on the beach and demanded their wallet at gunpoint.

One incident that's still under investigation involves a serious car accident in which a woman was thrown from a vehicle, resulting in a serious head injury.

Residents Hate Jeep Weekend Event

"I don't think anyone who lives here particularly likes Jeep Weekend," Anne Willis, president of the Bolivar Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, told Daily Mail.

"I think it's a nuisance. It's not so much the event, but the people who tag along that don't have Jeeps," she added.

Residents have complained that the event brings in people who trash the beaches and have wild parties that denigrate into disorderly activity and illicit drug use.

Law Enforcement Says Jeep Weekend Event 'Tests Limits of our Resources'

Nolen told Huston Public Media that the event "really tests the limits of our resources. Our beach is almost 30 miles long, and this probably takes place in a 5 or 6 mile region of the Crystal beach area. Just form one end to the other, it's just a huge party."

Nolen said the event is generally advertised pretty exclusively through social media.

"This is a lot of social media advertising from one partygoer to the next. They talk about, ‘If you want to go to the beach and have a good time and be rowdy, then come on this weekend.' And they come," he said.

"We've had about the same number of arrests that we had last year," Nolan told KRIV.

He added that he feels they have  “a pretty good handle on the overall safety of it," and that law enforcement has just done their best to try to, "get everybody home safe."

Many official Jeep clubs no longer want to be associated with the Galveston County gathering, and have started holding separate events.