Galveston County sheriff's deputy among those injured during 2022 Go Topless Jeep Weekend event

Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Deputy among those injured during Go Topless Jeep Weekend event
It was a wild weekend in Galveston County as thousands convened on Bolivar Peninsula for the "Go Topless" Jeep weekend.

GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- It was a wild weekend in Galveston County as thousands convened on Bolivar Peninsula for the "Go Topless" Jeep weekend.

"It was chaos, it strained us, we had our hands full," said Chief Deputy Dennis Macik with the Galveston County Sheriff's Office.

A sergeant with Galveston County was seriously injured during the event and had to be rushed to the hospital.

According to the sheriff's office, Sgt, John Hamm suffered two broken legs, an injured arm, and lacerations after investigators say he was hit by a car and thrown into the windshield. The 56-year-old underwent surgery for his right leg and must have another surgery on his left leg. His recovery is expected to be long.

RELATED: 232 arrests made during 2021 'Go Topless Jeep weekend' in Galveston County

The driver of that vehicle has been identified as 22-year-old Darius Gilbert, who is facing an aggravated assault charge with a deadly weapon. His bond has been set at $100,000.

The sergeant was directing traffic out of the road when the crash happened, according to the sheriff's office.

Hamm also broke his arm and had some injuries to his head, which hit the windshield. He was taken to UTMB for treatment.

As for other incidents over the weekend, there were plenty.

An estimated 40,000 people showed up to Crystal Beach on Saturday for this unsponsored Jeep event.

The sheriff said as of Sunday afternoon, the total arrests for the weekend were at 175 during the four-day event, 17 of which were felonies. Most of the people were charged with driving while intoxicated and public intoxication.

The huge crowd also stretched emergency services. Eight people had to be flown out of the area for injuries and roughly 30 people had to be taken to the hospital by ground.

Most of the incidents were considered minor injuries, but two were considered to be major traumas.

"It was anything from someone passing out, intoxicated, to being punched by someone else, falling of ATVs, golf carts," Chief Deputy Macik said.

The sheriff says DPS and the constable's office did send over additional help, but the crowd was still pretty massive. Roughly 100 deputies with the Galveston County Sheriff's Office worked the event, and double the number of deputies responded to patrol calls. Deputies worked 16- to 18-hour shifts, according to Macik.

"We worked a lot of people a lot of hours this weekend," Macik said.

Macik added despite the injuries, he believed their response went well and it was nothing they haven't dealt with previously. In 2021, more than 200 people were arrested during the event.

"We had the resources there," Macik said. "There was EMS services, ambulances, additional ambulances to transport people, the helicopter."

Regardless of how many resources are in place, Macik said it's ultimately up to the people who attend.

"That's their behavior if they want to come and behave like they did this weekend," Macik said. "As you can see, we enforce the law and do it the best way we can, but it's up to the person and act responsibly and not stand on the hood of a vehicle and fall off after they've been drinking all day."

The Galveston County Sheriff's Office is also asking anyone who would like to donate to the sergeant to send to: 50 Club of Galveston County, Attn: Sgt. John Hamm, P.O. Box 56, Galveston, Texas 77553.

SEE ALSO: At least 6 hurt and nearly 70 arrests during 2019 'Go Topless Jeep weekend' in Galveston County

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