The Commerce Journal

October 8, 2013

Increase in drug and alcohol arrests

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — The increase in drug and alcohol related arrests by the Texas A&M University-Commerce Police Department is par for the course, according to Crime Information Officer Lt. Jason Bone.

Bone said the trends usually continue and peak in the months of May and November.

“People are normally better behaved at the beginning,” he said, adding that once students become more comfortable with each other, they attend more parties. “No, it’s not unusual. We typically will have a huge amount around homecoming.”

Whitley Hall was the center of a long night for UPD officers responding to such drinking parties.

On Sept. 25 just before 11:30 p.m. an officer arrived at the fifth floor of the hall to meet with a residence advisor regarding an intoxicated female.

When the officer arrived, the RA pointed out 21-year-old Austin Fisher and 18-year-old Samantha Rowe standing inside one of the residences, with another female, 18-year-old Melissa Burnett, lying unresponsive on a bed.

The officer called for American Medical Response personnel to assist and interviewed Fisher while waiting.

According to the report, Fisher admitted that he thought Burnett was “18 or 19 years old” and knowingly provided her with alcohol while at his house before transporting her to her room.

The RA advised the officer that she saw Fisher assisting Burnett into Whitley Hall and had inquired about what was going on but was not given a definitive answer by Fisher.

After a short time the officer was able to get Burnett to respond to him, but she was unable to speak coherently. For safety reasons, the officer had her lie back down until AMR arrived.

Upon questioning Rowe, she denied being at Fisher’s residence but had met them at Whitley Hall.

Burnett was transported to Hunt Regional Community Hospital in Commerce and was issued a citation for consumption of alcohol by a minor.

Fisher was charged for funishing alcohol to a minor and was transported to Hunt County Criminal Justice Center in Greenville.

Burnett, Fisher and Rowe were all issued dean referrals.

Rowe did not take the arrest of her friend well.

No more than 30 minutes later another officer was dispatched to Whitley Hall for an intoxicated female running from the hall director.

The hall director advised the officer that Rowe had ran from him and was now running across State Highway 24 toward Lonestar Eatery.

The officer pursued Rowe and another officer assisted in detaining Rowe in front of Magnuson Hotel around 12:19 a.m.

The report stated Rowe calmed down and the officers were able to find out her identity, but while escorting Rowe to the car she became combative and and kicked a Commerce Police Officer in the face, knocking him on the ground and also bit a UPD officer in his leg.

Rowe then allegedly made comments about her life being over.

The officers interviewed Rowe’s roommate who said Rowe became upset after her friend was arrested and had consumed alcohol at a party held off campus.

Rowe was held at the University Police Department until a counselor with A.D.A.P.T. arrived to speak with her and advised she was showing signs of depression.

Rowe was cleared of medical conditions and was transported to Hunt County Criminal Justice Center for possible use of unknown narcotics.

Rowe was charged with two counts of assault on a public servant and one count of resist arrest/search/transport.