More than 230 people face charges after a Jeep celebration in Texas descended into chaos with dozens of people rushed to hospital.
The Jeep Weekend in Galveston is also known as ‘Go Topless Weekend,’ an annual beach party that was expected to draw up to 10,000 people to Crystal Beach.
The event was originally meant to become a way for Jeep enthusiasts to show off their vehicles, but it’s turned into an alcohol-fueled tribute to all off-road cars in recent years.
Galveston County Emergency Services and other state and county authorities had been planning for months for this weekend’s festival, which draws a multitude of visitors to the Bolivar Peninsula from around the region.
‘This event is usually very taxing on our resources,’ Major Ray Nolen of the county’s sheriff’s office said Sunday.
This weekend was the ‘Go Topless’ Jeep celebration near Galveston, Texas, and was expected to draw 10,000 people
More than 230 people were arrested on drunken and disorderly conduct charges during the event
There were also 40 people hospitalized during this year’s event
The weekend has become as busy as a public holiday for law enforcement, according to The Galveston County Daily News.
At least 120 cops were assigned for the four-day event, Nolen said.
More than 200 charges, mostly misdemeanors, were filed on Sunday alone, according to KTRK.
About 40 people were hospitalized ‘for various minor injuries and illnesses,’ Nolen added.
The number of arrests rose from last year when 175 arrests were made resulting in 198 charges were filed.
On the positive side, injuries and hospitalizations were down from over 60 from last year’s event.
But Jeep enthusiasts insist the festival is tarnished by other groups who use the opportunity to misbehave and annoy residents who complain the beaches are left full of trash.
Local police have often said that the vent as busy as a public holiday with 120 officer assigned to the event
The event started as a Jeep celebration but has grown into a party and booze bash
Over 200 charges, mostly misdemeanors, were handed out by police on Sunday alone
The number of arrests is up form 175 during the 2022 arrest, when 198 charges were filed
The event has become so wild that official Jeep clubs have started to pull out of it and hold separate events, with many locals expressing their disdain for the whole gathering.
‘I don’t think anyone who lives here particularly likes Jeep Weekend,’ Anne Willis, president of the Bolivar Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, said ahead of this edition of the event.
‘I think it’s a nuisance. It’s not so much the event, but the people who tag along that don’t have Jeeps.’
Last year’s event saw a sheriff’s deputy break both his legs and an arm after being hit by a car while he directed traffic.
Jeep enthusiasts insist the festival is tarnished by other groups who use the opportunity to misbehave and annoy residents who complain the beaches are left full of trash
The event has become so wild that official Jeep clubs have started to pull out of it and hold separate events, with many locals expressing their disdain for the whole gathering
‘I don’t think anyone who lives here particularly likes Jeep Weekend,’ Anne Willis, president of the Bolivar Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, said ahead of this edition of the event
Some are still here for the cars at Jeep Weekend in Galveston County
Some political messages were displayed the event
In both 2019 and 2021, a person died at Jeep Weekend.
‘We’re just trying to maintain order and keep everybody safe,’ Nolen said.
The Texas Open Beaches Act allows for free public use of the beach and there is no way to limit crowd numbers, with the only remedy a larger police presence, Sheriff Trochesset explained.
There are similar ‘Go Topless’ events organized by motorists across the country and the name comes from the Jeep Wrangler’s removable roof.