Man speaks out after being drugged while bar-hopping on Sixth Street

A man is speaking out after he says he was drugged while bar-hopping with friends on West 6th Street in Downtown Austin. He was found under a bridge with serious injuries.

Jeff Jones, 38, of Boston, was visiting Austin for a bachelor party in June 2023. They arrived on Thursday, June 22, had dinner, and headed to some bars on West Sixth.

"I hadn’t felt strange at all. I hadn't been drinking heavily," said Jones.

The next thing he says he remembers is waking up in the hospital a week later.

"I had no idea," said Jones.

Jones’ friends say he disappeared around 1 a.m., after talking to some women at a bar.

"I don’t really know if specifically people had led me away," said Jones.

Three hours later, he was found in a ravine next to Shoal Creek, under the Sixth Street Bridge.

"It’s a three-or four-foot-wide old stone bridge. So for me to actually have somehow fallen over, it would have been almost impossible. I would have been there, have had to have been pushed out or, you know, been climbing on it by myself," said Jones.

Whoever found him called 9-1-1. He was apparently conscious at the time, but didn’t remember a thing.

"I broke a number of vertebrae, also my left scapula, and two ribs. And there was a puncture wound through my elbow," said Jones.


Medics rushed Jones to Dell Seton Medical Center, where he tested positive for benzodiazepines, which include the date-rape drug Rohypnol.

"There’s no reason why I would have had that in my system," said Jones. "I was having drinks and very easily could have gotten drugged by someone."

He was put into a medically-induced coma as he underwent back surgery, with doctors implanting metal rods.

"And then they went into my chest area to remove my spleen and stop some hemorrhaging in my kidneys, liver and lungs. So quite a mess," said Jones.

After initially being revived, he had to have fluid drained from his lungs. He then spent a month recovering at his sister’s house in New Hampshire.

"Incredibly lucky," said Jones. "If I had landed, obviously on my head or my neck, I think that would have been much worse."

Looking back, Jones urges people to keep a close eye on their drinks, given recent cases of people being drugged, as well as bodies found in Lady Bird Lake, which police don’t believe to be suspicious, but which have left bargoers looking over their shoulders.

"I don't know if it's a serial killer. I don't know if it's criminal behavior or people just trying to take advantage of others," said Jones.

Nearly a year later, Jones is still doing occupational therapy, and will soon get those rods removed. However, he’s doing much better and is looking forward to running a five-mile race this weekend.

"Trying to live life to the fullest now and just feel really lucky that I, that I have kind of a second shot at things," said Jones.

The City of Austin has taken several steps in the last couple of years, like the Safer 6th St Initiative, installing lights and cameras on and around Rainey Street, and the Sip Safely program to raise awareness about drink spiking.

Despite everything, Jones says he isn’t opposed to coming back to Austin.