HAVOC IN HOLLISTER
Motorcyclists Take Over Town, Many Injured
By C. I. DOURGHTY JR. San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer HOLLISTER.
July, 5 (1947)
State Highway patrolmen tonight imposed informal martial law in downtown
Hollister to curb the riotous activities of an estimated 4000. Almost 60
persons were injured, three of them seriously. Several more arrests were
made and a special night court session was convened to punish those
charged with reckless driving and drunkenness. The outburst of terrorism -
wrecking of bars, bottle barrages into the streets from upper story
windows and roofs and high speed racing of motorcycles though the streets
- came as participants in the annual "Gypsy Tour" sponsored by the
American Motorcycle Association converged on Hollister for a three-day
Shortly after dusk tonight, the force of 40 highway patrol officers,
commanded by Captain L.T. Torres of San Benito County, forced a lull in
Armed with tear gas guns, the officers herded the cyclists into a block on
San Benito street, between Fifth and Sixth streets, parked a dance band on
a truck and ordered the musicians to play. Hundreds of individuals who
invaded the town yesterday for the motorcycle show, about 10 percent of
them women halted their riotous "play" to dance. Their formal ball at the
American Legion Hall was canceled by police orders.
The dancers scuffed their way through inches of broken glass, debris of
bottle barrages thrown during the day. The officers stood almost shoulder
to shoulder along the curb.
REQUEST FOR HELP
Captain Torres and his men were sent to the scene by Charles E. Raymond
Cato of the highway patrol who received a formal request of assistance
from Lieutenant Roy L. McPhail of the seven-men Hollister police
department. The request for aid was made at 3:30 P.M. today. As the state
officers moved in, hundreds of cyclists roared through the streets of
Hollister, defying traffic regulations. Many of them were injured in
spills and crashes. One man's left foot was virtually severed.
Lieutenant McPhail was emphatic in his announcement to The Chronicle that
he was asked for assistance by the State Highway Patrol. Police Chief Fred
A. Earin of Hollister said: "It's just one hell of a mess."
The motorcyclists gathering for a three-day program of social activities,
races and hill climbing events scheduled to end tomorrow began "taking
over the town" the evening of July 3. The momentum of their activities
gained strength during the 4th of July. By evening, they were virtually
out of control, the police reported. Riders, both men and women, steered
their machines into bars, crashing fixtures and bottles and mirrors. They
defied all traffic regulations racing full speed through the streets and
intersections. Hundreds loosed bottle barrages.
Bartenders halted the sale of beer, believing the group could not afford
whiskey. Riotous activities continued. The bars closed two hours earlier
than permitted by law. The same curfew was to go into effect tonight. The
groups defied the officers to curb their activities. As many arrests as
possible were made. Police. Judge Frank Butcher convened a special session
of his court tonight to dispose of the cases as he did last night.
The sentences ranged from $25 to $250 and up to 75 days in jail. One of
the participants identified by the police as Jim Morrison, 19, of Los
Angeles, was given 90 days in the county jail for indecent exposure. The
emergency room at Hazel Hawkins Hospital was jammed to overflowing. The
first case arrived early yesterday. Late tonight, more than 40 persons had
been treated. The San Benito Hospital handled the overflow cases.
LIST OF INJURED
The most seriously injured were:
Merton Kranzman, 20, Rural Rout NO. 4, Tular. Compound fracture of the
Frank McGovern, 45, Rural Rout NO. 2, Chico. Left leg almost severed. Ted
Boyde Jr., 20, 542 Williams street, Oakland. Possible skull fracture.
With the riot under control for the moment, officers said there is no
apparent organized leader of the activity. The "Gypsy Tour" attracted
motorcyclists from California, Arizona and Oregon. The first days meeting
was attended by as many as 12,000 persons, according to official
Races were to conclude the tour today. Officers late tonight had not
decided whether they would be permitted.
"You just can't run everybody out of town", said Captain Torres. The
"tour" brought the largest amount of transients in recent history to
Hollister. Hundreds slept in "haystacks" according to police and in the
city park and squares.