"I just got a bill for $8000, and that was just for the orthopedic surgeon," says Ben Labrake. "I haven't even received the hospital bill." Labrake attended the June 2 Battalion of Saints and Dirtbag show at the Jumping Turtle in San Marcos.
"We were leaving and there was a commotion on the patio. People were jumping over the railing and throwing chairs in the parking lot. We started walking back to see what was going on. People started running out the front door. It seemed like there was a fight. This big guy -- over 240 pounds -- took a dive right onto my leg. He snapped it on impact." Both the tibia and fibula broke. "They cut my leg open and put a titanium rod in from my knee to the ankle. I stayed in the hospital three days."
Labrake, 22, says someone from the Jumping Turtle told him "chances were slim" that the venue's insurance would cover his medical costs because the incident occurred outside the bar.
"I didn't witness it, but I heard he was trying to break up a fight," says Sulo King, promoter of the show. "I believe it is security's responsibility to break up a fight."
Jumping Turtle owner Matt Hall says his bar is "fully covered" with insurance but that it doesn't apply to Labrake. "He got involved in a fight, and he hurt himself in the fight," says Hall, who notes that no claim has been submitted by Labrake.
With such potential liability, does Hall consider the type of bands he allows to play his club?
"We turn down a lot of punk shows. We don't want the 'oi' crowd. We don't want any part of that.... We screen the crowd to the best of our ability, but fights do happen, yeah. There is only so much live music available out there. What's left, hip-hop? That's worse."
In other San Marcos club news, Sgt. Tom Bulow of the Santee Sheriff's Station says "running gun battles" between cars on Highway 78 have been linked to Thursday "Urban Night" events at Club Tropics. San Marcos city manager Rick Gittings says the nightspot's liquor license is at risk.
The Longshot Saloon, another San Marcos bar, was recently forbidden to host live music. Three weeks ago, the City of San Marcos suspended the Longshot's entertainment license after an after-hours shooting occurred outside the bar. A hearing to determine the future of the Longshot is set for July 28.
A fundraiser to cover Labrake's medical bills will be held at the Jumping Turtle on July 23.