How a 21-year-old barely survived 'Go Topless' Jeep Weekend at Crystal Beach

By Brandon Walker - Reporter

HOUSTON - This weekend, fun turned to danger for the large crowds that had gathered on Bolivar Peninsula during "Go Topless" Jeep Weekend at Crystal Beach.

For Tanner Francis, they turned particularly dangerous.

What was Tanner doing? The 21-year-old was riding on the back of a pickup truck when he fell off of it and that same truck wound up running over him. 

What kind of injury did he sustain? "The base of his skull, which they said is a very hard break, the blow was so bad it broke the base of his skull,” said his mom, Julie Busby. He almost lost his left ear. There's nerve damage, bruising and bleeding in his lungs, his mom said.

How is he doing now? "We talked to him this morning,” Julie Busby said. He even wrote a message to his family -- a sign of how far he's come. "He wrote down 'my head hurts,'” Julie Busby said. “We explained to him what happened and then the very next thing he wrote was 'Luke,' and that's his little boy." Click here to help pay for his medical bills.

What is Jeep Week? Thousands of Jeep lovers pack Bolivar Peninsula and Crystal Beach to gather with other Jeep fans on the beachfront for a several-day event that runs Thursday through Sunday.

What happened in Galveston this year? There were 68 arrests during the event, 10 of which were DWI-related. There were eight major accidents reported.

What's next? Some local business owners were pleased with the increase in revenue, but many Crystal Beach residents want to put an end to Jeep Weekend. Daniel Wilson started a petition on Change.org writing that the event "has become more and more dangerous over the years," and "let's unite to end this reckless event." The petition has a goal of 15,000 signatures and has already reached over 11,000.

By the numbers from Jeep Weekend

600: Calls received between Thursday to Sunday, just on the Bolivar Peninsula.

305: People booked in the Galveston County Jail between Thursday and Sunday. Of the 305 arrested, 120 of those were from Bolivar Peninsula.

14: Number of minor car accidents reported during the event.

Copyright 2019 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.