At least two people died in motorcycle crashes over the weekend during the annual Lone Star Rally, which brings thousands of bikers to the island every fall.

The deaths were caused by separate crashes on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, police said

The first crash occurred about 3:30 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of 25th Street and Avenue O, police said.

A 40-year-old man on motorcycle collided with an SUV and was pinned under it, police said. The man was alive when emergency responders arrived and he was transported to a University of Texas Medical Branch hospital, police said.

On Sunday morning, the Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the man had died after arriving at the hospital.

As of Sunday afternoon, police had not determined the reason for the crash, Police Department spokesman Xavier Hancock said.

The second crash occurred on FM 3005 about 2 a.m. between 11 Mile and 12 Mile roads on the West End of Galveston Island, according to police.

A motorcycle was driving west in the eastbound lanes of the highway and struck a pickup truck that was traveling east, police said. The driver of the pickup truck attempted to avoid the motorcycle, but the two vehicles made “significant impact,” police said.

There was one person on the motorcycle at the time of the crash. The rider was also taken to a University of Texas Medical Branch hospital and pronounced dead at the hospital, police said.

The driver of the pickup truck and a passenger in the truck were not injured, police said. No charges were filed.

The police and the medical examiner’s office did not release the names of the people who died on Sunday.

Police and city officials on Monday or Tuesday would release more detailed information about the numbers of crashes and calls they responded to during the rally, Hancock said.

But officials Sunday acknowledged they had responded to dozens of calls ranging from minor accidents to more serious wrecks and reports of crime.

Most of the calls occupying emergency responders were minor and did not result in any serious injuries, Hancock said.

There were a handful of more serious incidents, however, including one in which two men were stabbed in downtown Galveston, he said.

The stabbing happened near 22nd Street and The Strand about 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Two men, who are both in their 20s, were injured and transported to a University of Texas Medical Branch hospital for treatment.

Their status as not available Sunday, but the men were conscious and able to speak to authorities on Saturday, Hancock said.

The stabbing happened after two groups of men began arguing, Hancock said. The injured men belonged to the same group, he said.

Their attackers left the area before police arrived and no arrests had been made over the stabbing as of Sunday, Hancock said.

The Lone Star Rally officially ended Sunday afternoon and was closed out by a concert by the Charlie Daniels Band.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; or on Twitter @johnwferguson.


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(17) comments

David Schuler

Fascinating how the numbers work out. In 2016 the annual fatality rate for motorcycles was 60.9 deaths per 100,000 cyclists (Insurance Information Institute). If there were 400,000 cyclists here that would have suggested a rate of 243.6 fatalities per year all else being equal. Since the cyclists were here for only three days, that's 3/365 = .0082 times 243.6 gives a projected fatality rate for the event weekend of 2.002 deaths. You don't know who, but you can predict how many with good accuracy.

Stephen Murphy

Was the rally shortened to only three days this year?

Richard V. Ortiz

No, the rally was Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Stephen Murphy

I know the rally was four days, Richard. I was asking Mr. Schuler, who claimed "the cyclists were here for only three days..."

Allen Flores

If 300,000 of the riders paid the Lone Star Rally promoters the $30 to ride on The Strand, the promoter received $9 Million in cash. The city can't tell you how many millions they profit from vendors, beer sales or sponsorship dollars on public streets. Local permanent businesses on The Strand, like La Kings Ice Cream were forced to close for 3 days. Jammin' Sportswear sells hot dogs to makeup for lost sales. Blu Boutique can't operate normally. The Admiralty gift shop sells beer to makeup for lost sales. Restaurants are forced to hire security until 2am. The Costume shop sells water. The downtown shopping and dining area loses every parking space to the promoter. It's time to relocate the cruising-event away from The Strand so local businesses (who operate all year) can operate their family businesses without the electric cords and power lines on the sidewalks.

Stephen Murphy

Mr. Flores, I pretty much agree with everything you're saying, but I don't know from where you are getting your numbers. I can pretty much guarantee you that the promoter does not collect $9,000,000. Only a small fraction of 300,000 riders pay to ride/park on The Strand. I ride my motorcycle to the rally and I've never paid to ride/park on The Strand. Even so, like you, I am curious as to who gives the promoter the legal authority to limit access to a public street and to collect money from riders for a pass to ride/park on a public street. What percentage of that money, however much it is, does the city collect?

Also, does the state comptroller monitor the money collected from riders who pay for those passes? Does the state take their cut? What about taxes from sales of beer, food, clothing, jewelry and other goods/services during the event? Do these vendors have a sales tax permit? I wonder because none of the vendors I purchased drink, food and clothing from ever gave me a receipt showing I paid sales tax.

Finally, I know there are a lot of Galveston businesses not on The Strand, specifically hotels and food establishments on the Seawall, who make a killing during the rally and who would otherwise be struggling to pay their bills if it wasn't for the rally. Ask them how they would feel about moving the rally away from Galveston. I don't think many of them would be in favor of it. I agree that The Strand is not the best place to hold this event and I can see it adversely affects businesses and residents who call The Strand home. I just don't know where else it could be held in Galveston, do you?

Allen Flores

Great questions. That's the point, nobody knows if it even makes sense financially. There is no transparency and no financial report presented to the public from a private company charging on public streets. Every one of your questions could be easily answered by the city manager on this forum for the 2018 Rally. Those numbers should be readily available since it's a contract is with a governmental agency. If Seawall businesses/hotels are happy with it, they can have it. But the Seawall businesses should give their consent first. It makes no sense to have vendors and cruising in The Strand District near the cruise ship terminals. Some have suggested putting in on the remote area of East Seawall named Cherry Hill where vendors don't conflict with businesses and there would be less impact on residents. Boddeker Drive makes the most sense. Some have suggested Gulf Greyhound Park. I don't think anybody can decide until the numbers are revealed from the questions that you asked. I've heard overall hotel occupancy are not much different than a sunny weekend. I hope we can get specific numbers, not some paid study that generalizes economic impact without legit facts and basic math. How much is made from rider fees, vendors and sponsors? I've heard that the beer vendors are setup as a non-profit so maybe taxes are treated differently for the promoter than normal businesses? How can we see what vendors pay in taxes? The city manager has a duty for oversight and reporting to the citizens. Nobody seems to know how much taxpayers are burdened as a result of the crowds all over the island.

Allen Flores

City manager Brian Maxwell has become skilled at cherry-coating the fatalities, wrecks and disorder that is forced upon residents and local businesses along The Strand. The Strand becomes a constant screeching of tires with ongoing fights and pushing. The out-of-town vendors, constant smell of puke and trash cans overflowing would be better on a remote part of Seawall, a beach or a fairground. David Collins and others on city council describe the motorcycle event as mostly nice doctors and lawyers that stay in hotels. That description is untrue and ridiculous to suggest. The historic shopping and dining district should no longer be used for cruising events that paralyze the entire downtown. The city gets $1 from each $30 cruising-pass that the promoter receives. The street-cruising pass is disguised as a parking permit. Of course events are good for Galveston, but this event is completely out of control on The Strand, worse than Kappa Beach Party ever was.

Doug Sivyer

Money talks so don't except this event to be canceled no matter how many people think it should be.

Kristen Stephens

I work on Strand street and had to pay $60 for parking to work for three days because the motorcycle event used my normal spots. The attendees trashed our bathrooms, used nonstop profanity and blocked sidewalks with chairs. Nobody could hear themselves think over the constant revving up of motorcycles. I’m sure there are lots of good people who ride motorcycles, but I didn’t see many. Girls showed their boobs all day while guys gathered with cameras. I felt unsafe the whole weekend. This amount of motorcycles should not be around established businesses where families go. Families will never come back after seeing this crowd and the best stores shut down. It makes no sense for many employees. A family taking a cruise was disgusted with the crowds' behavior and asked me why this type of event was so close to the cruise ships. I told them we were all fed up with it but apparently the city doesn’t care what we think.

Debra Criss

agree with Allen Flores. Business outside the Strand, but in downtown also close during the rally. This event takes over the entire island, you cannot get away from it or them. I don't know anyone who had to get out that didn't have a near miss with them. Galveston can do better than this and should do better than this.

Michelle Robach

I own a business on the strand. I had to sell beer out of my boutique just to conform to the LSR crowd. On Saturday our store had decided close up very early. I was afraid for myself and my families safety along with my employees safety. The police had people up against my building in handcuffs, I had major fights break out right in front of my doors. We found a man just laying on the ground completely passed out. I was told he was hit so hard that he was knocked out and everyone ran from the scene. Don't get me wrong, police presence was heavy but the crowd was bigger and badder I think. I give a big round of applause to the Galveston PD for the job they did in helping protect our city and it's residents and businesses but the real question is, Why is Galveston government not promoting and advocating for family friendly festivals, events or conventions? Why is the City Manager making deals with the LSR or Mardi Gras? These types of events are clearly not family friendly and seem to bring in a different crowd. Why are Galveston businesses EXPECTED to conform or change their business model because the city manager has entered into a contract with a promoter and given them public access to block our public streets which in turn blocks our entrance doors to our stores, restaurants and bars? The LSR was to have full access to the streets starting on Tuesday at 8:00 pm but ice machines etc were being dropped in the streets early Tuesday morning hence blocking and taking most of the public parking spots. If shoppers cant park, they won't shop. So we as merchants on the strand and surrounding areas are in essence shut down starting on Tuesday! LSR was not a winner for us!

Allen Flores

City council members took an oath to protect citizens and uphold the City Charter. Turning The Strand into a non-family area similar to Kappa Beach Party makes no sense and is against the Nuisances in the City Charter. The management of Mitchell Properties are big supporters of extending contracts for promoters to continue the non-family events. Mitchell Properties management owns the balconies, parking lots and Saengerfest Park. They have a financial interest in continuing the city-funded chaos in Galveston’s family tourist area. They have power and influence over city council to extend the promoters’ contracts, as do promoters.

Instead of protecting the historic district’s family image, city council sells us out in a bad deal where promoters charge taxpayers and motorcycle riders to access free public streets. The city gets $1 out of the $30 for a “thru traffic pass.” The Mardi Gras promoter charges taxpayers and tourists $22 and the city gets $1 of it. The promoters keep 100% of all vendor fees and sponsor dollars while the city gets zero dollars. The bad deals are questionable because they make no sense for the city’s family image or financially. George Mitchell would be outraged and sad that his vision has turned into a trashy moneymaker for promoters that hurts local businesses on The Strand.

Joe Flores

ISR is only good for beer companies hotels , and some restaurants .... it disgraces an historic shopping district ythat now focuses on year round beer sales been here longer than most and it is ugly and embarrasing to see the historic area digress !!!

Stephen Murphy

I know you've been around a long time, Joe. I agree with you 100%.

Anne Reiswerg

How long is the current LSR contract for?

Someone said 2 more years.

Wayne Holt

We listened to Chief Hale today speak on this topic, as well as others, at the Rosenberg Library. I suggested that a quick reading of the GDN reader responses when this is brought up will show that many, many people who supported LSR in years' past no longer do. Why? Because the City refused to rein it in, provide strict guidelines and enforce behavior when it would have been more manageable. It has evolved into a free-for-all; we lose control of downtown Galveston every year this brawl on wheels hits town.

What is required of city leaders to get the message on this? Are they really saying that Galveston is better off with images of public lewdness, drunken brawling and the cacophony of over-revving+exhaust systems+powerful audio systems turning downtown into a dystopia?

And Mr Flores is right. Let's see the numbers: the rider count, the tax take, shared funding with the City and the total cost of policing and cleanup on this event. Without those hard numbers, it's just a something pulled from thin air we're being asked to buy into.

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