A 28-year-old man who is suspected of driving while intoxicated northbound on Highway 16 south of Kerrville on Saturday, July 18, crossed the center lane and into a group of motorcyclists who are part of a motorcycle club that aids law enforcement agencies and officers’ families, killing three club members and sending four to the hospital, according to media reports.
The suspect was identified by the Kerrville Daily Times as Ivan Robles Navejas who was jailed in Kerr County after the mishap on bonds totaling $500,000.
Media accounts indicated he faced three counts of intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle and up to six counts of intoxication assault with a vehicle. Navejas, who had been charged with DWI in 2016, also was being held for an alleged immigration violation from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, reports said.
His hometown was not reported.
The fatality occurred at about 12:10 p.m. on Saturday near Kerrville just south of Lantana Road.
Members of the Thin Blue Line Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club reportedly had travelled from Bandera where an annual meeting for the club’s foundation was being held to Kerrville for lunch and were returning to Bandera when the passenger vehicle Navejas was driving reportedly plowed into them.
Investigators with the Texas Department of Public Safety said four others in the group of cyclists also were taken to hospitals for treatment. That included three men and a woman.
One media report said three of the victims were flown by air ambulance to San Antonio hospitals.
A spokesman for the club, David Weed, identified the members who were killed as Joseph Paglia, a retired officer with the Niles City Police Department who was president of the club’s Chicago chapter, Jerry Wayne Harbour, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and a retired pilot for Eastern Airlines who lived in Houston and Michael White, secretary of the Thin Blue Line’s Chicago Chapter who also had served in the U.S. Army and as an officer with Chicago Community Service.
“Please join Thin Blue Line LEMC and law enforcement from around the country in praying for these brave men and their families,” the club said in a prepared comment about the incident. “These men who spent their lives serving our country and their communities with valor and honor”
Weed in comments to reporters said the suspect in the mishap not only “has robbed those families of their lived ones, but he’s robbed each and every community that those guys served. He robbed the world of three good people. He’s going to have to work a lot in his life to match the effort that they would have produced.”
The Thin Blue Line club is a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who provide assistance to law enforcement agencies and officers’ families when officers are killed or seriously injured.
The Kerrville newspaper quoted jail records as showing that Navejas had been arrested on Nov. 5, 2016 on a suspicion of driving while intoxicated charge and on Nov. 18, 2018 on a felony warrant out of Bexar County. He had been charged in Bexar County with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, the newspaper said.
It was not clear if the DWI charge against Navejas was prosecuted, and the disposition of the Bexar County charge was not immediately available, the Daily Times said.