CONROE – A youth baseball umpire was arrested Sunday after being tackled by a parent at a sports complex in Conroe, officials said.
Police said Ramsey Dante LaFont, 35, is charged with evading arrest and possession of a controlled substance.
Oak Ridge police officers said they attempted to conduct a traffic stop and LaFont refused to pull over. Officials said he pulled into the Scrap Yard Sports Complex in Conroe, where he was scheduled to umpire a youth baseball game.
Joseph Jones was at the complex watching his son play and said he could see LaFont running from police. He said he jumped into action and tackled LaFont, who was in his umpire’s uniform.
“I figured since it didn’t look like a good situation and a lot of kids were here. I figured why not stop whatever is going on and let the police handle it from there,” Jones said.
Other parents in attendance helped Jones detain LaFont until police arrived.
Police later said they found six grams of crystal meth on him and realized LaFont, who is on parole for a 12-year-sentence, had an outstanding warrant in Harris County for credit card abuse.
Parents at the complex were upset that LaFont was even allowed to be an umpire and would have been near their children.
“It’s disheartening because nowadays there are ways to do background checks. Most positions require periodic drug tests,” Marla Gutierrez said.
The tournament host, according to a parent whose child played in the weekend tournament, was USSSA Baseball. KPRC 2 asked the complex about the arrest and wanted to know who was in charge of overseeing the umpires but they refused to comment.
The USSSA Baseball’s website shows they are required to check.
The incident had many parents shaking their heads, generating several comments on KPRC 2′s website and Facebook page.
“That guy that got caught yesterday I guess or Saturday, there is no way he would have gotten through any of these background checks,” said Charlie Strasser, who helps schedule umpires for tournaments in the Houston area through the Texas Association of Sports Official.
Strasser said 90% of his umpires are trained through TASO which requires a background check for any of their officials.
Former major leaguer, Ron Mathis, also uses TASO umpires for his Five Tool tournaments.
“They were the organization that did all the high schools in Houston and I wanted the best umpires I could find and that was the best group we had in the area,” Mathis said.
Kevin Ellis, who is the incoming president for the Houston chapter of TASO, is a proponent of background checks. Ellis said Sunday’s incident is “an embarrassment for the guys that do it right.”
LaFont’s criminal history
According to court records in Harris and Montgomery counties, the umpire was not only charged with credit card abuse in April but also has a criminal history dating back to 2003, involving theft, forgery and harassing communications. He has served time for most of the offenses.
Harris County Cases
- 2003: Harassing communications - Served 15 days in jail
- 2004: Forgery - Served 180 days in jail
- 2007: Forgery - Served 6 months in jail
- 2009: Theft $1500-$20K - Served 9 months in jail
- 2010: Theft under $1500 - Served 2 years in prison
- 2010: Harassing communications - Served 20 days in jail
- 2012: Theft $1500-$20k - Served 6 months in jail
- 2021: Credit card abuse - Warrant issued in April
Montgomery County Cases
- 2003: Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle - Received 4 years deferred adjudication
- 2004: Theft - Served 3 years in prison
- 2010: Unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon - Served 2 years in prison
- 2014: Evading arrest detention with vehicle - Sentenced to 12 years TDCJ - paroled in February 2020
- 2014: Bail jumping and failure to appear - Sentenced to 12 years TDCJ - paroled in February 2020
- 2020: Possession of controlled substance - Served 3 days in jail