A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction 2011.1: Have You Been Drinking, Cowboy?

Man on horse: We just wanted a night of fun

By Tony Plohetski

Updated: 11:13 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011
Published: 8:39 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011

Several months after a riding accident that he said nearly killed him, Samuel Olivo Jr. wanted to celebrate a second chance at life by riding through downtown Austin on one of his favorite horses, Texas.

He ended up accused of a crime.

Olivo and friend Jose Rios were arrested Friday night on drunken driving charges after police pulled them over on Sixth Street and impounded their mounts.

Olivo said he stepped forward because he wanted to explain their actions.

He said he was riding at a horse track in southeast Travis County in June when he slipped from his saddle and was dragged at least 50 yards, breaking several ribs and collapsing both lungs. He said he had to be resuscitated and airlifted to University Medical Center Brackenridge, where he remained for two weeks.

He said Friday's ride was to celebrate a new beginning after his recovery.

According to his account, he and Rios had brought Texas, another horse named Big Red and a mule called Mula from Olivo's home in southeast Travis County into downtown, then left their trailer at an East Austin barbecue joint before setting out for a night of fun.

They stopped at a couple of restaurants and bars, tying the animals to makeshift hitching posts along the way. They also trotted by the Capitol for pictures.

Then the men headed toward the Sixth Street entertainment district, where the trouble started.

Police have said the men appeared intoxicated, and both were arrested on drunken driving charges. Those charges have since been dismissed, but police have said they will now cite them for public intoxication.

Olivo said Wednesday he'd had several drinks and that, "I was drunk."

Rios, an Austin homebuilder, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Cmdr. Jason Dusterhoft, who supervises the Police Department's highway enforcement division, said officers arrested the men for several reasons: Motorists were having to steer around them on a busy street, they were creating a danger by inviting people into the street to take pictures — an accusation that Olivo denies — and they were concerned for the men's and the public's safety. He said officers were worried that the men would attempt to drive home in cars.

Olivo said he plans to reunite with his animals today — they've remained at an animal hospital in Elgin since police impounded them.

He said he also plans to soon ride them through downtown again, which is not against any city ordinance.

"I'm just not going to drink a drop of liquor," Olivo said.

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