ROUND ROCK, Texas - Roughly half a dozen motorcycle clubs gathered in Round Rock Saturday afternoon in support of the Thin Blue Line Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club. Four members of the club were killed in a crash last month.
On July 18, members of the club were riding on TX-16 through Kerrville, as part of the club's “birthday” celebration.
Deputies say 28-year-old Ivan Robles Navejas crossed over the highway's centerline, hitting several motorcyclists.
Allen “Ronin” Turner, Austin Chapter president for the Thin Blue Line LEMC says two motorcycles exploded upon impact. “In my career, over 30 years in law enforcement, it was one of the most horrific accident scenes I ever went to,” said Turner.
Retired Lt. Colonel Jerry "Wings" Harbour, retired Detective Joseph "GT" Paglia and Officer Michael "Psycho" White were all killed.
Sgt. Joseph Lazo, also known as Kelly, died approximately two weeks later on July 31.
“[Lazo] had a heart so big, that on that day, I watched him, even as he was injured, reach over, trying to help our fallen brother and render aid.” explained John “Jojo” Grigsby, Austin Chapter vice president of the Thin Blue Line LEMC.
Grigsby was severely burned during the crash. Saturday, he received a new jacket from the Sentinels Motorcycle Club. The group also organized the memorial. Grigsby told the crowd that in the days leading up to his death Lazo, from his “hospital bed, he was sending out videos updating his progress, texting us that were injured with him.”
Lazo was a Sergeant with the Niles Police Department in Illinois. “He was dedicated to his badge, his community, and his brothers in the Thin Blue Line LEMC. “Kelly” was a consummate club man. His dedication to TBL was second only to his love for his fiancee Maria.” said Grigsby.
Grigsby said the couple would have been married this May.
Harbour a lifelong commercial and private pilot was remembered as “the guy you wanna be like.” said Floyd “South Paw” Kittle, of the Thin Blue Line LEMC. Adding, “He’s that older guy that you love to see because he’s a story, he remembers you.”
As a storyteller, one of Harbour's favorite stories was about how he “talked a couple of Chicago guys into starting a [Thin Blue Line LEMC] chapter in Chicago.”
Kittle described Harbour as a “gentle soul” someone “you looked for. If you had a long day he could make it better.” He was a retired Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army and University of Houston Graduate.
He was also a founding member of the Houston Classic Chevy Club, a member of the Fabulous Fifties Ford Club of America, the Classic Thunderbirds of Houston, and the Cushman Club of America. He belonged to the National Rifle and Texas State Rifle Associations.
White, was a U.S. Army Veteran. He served in Afghanistan in the 4th Brigade Combat Team 82nd Airborne 1/508 PIR. He was a Community Service Officer for the Niles Police Department.
Grigsby said White was never without “his big Irish smile, quick jokes, and big personality.” Adding, “sitting atop his beloved white Sportster you could see his joy from a mile away. [White’s] ability to welcome strangers as if they were old friends and greet old friends as if they were family is what his Thin Blue Line LEMC brothers and sisters will miss most.”
White was a Cum Laude graduate of Western Illinois University. He was a member of Emmet-Chalmers VFD, Schaumburg, and VFW Post 2202.
Kittle remembered White for his modesty. “He was a person who gave from even a little boy. He was a volunteer firefighter. He joined the Army and not only did he join the Army, he excelled. He was one of the best.” he said adding, “He wasn’t the kinda guy to put it out in front of everybody, he wasn’t talking about himself, he just did.”
Kittle, remembered Paglia as a leader.
“He had a specific way of doing things and he was very good about doing those things, but he also had a personality that you couldn’t go without wanting to be around him,” he explained
Paglia had organized the ride on July 18 during the club's birthday celebrations. All four men who passed away were from Illinois, including Paglia. He moved to Texas last year and wanted to hold the ride to celebrate.
Paglia was a retired police officer and detective for the Niles Police Department, where White and Lazo also served.
Grigsby said he “lived his life on his own terms, and enjoyed traveling with his RV, ‘Big George,’ and his two bikes ‘RamJam’ and ‘Jacqueline.’” He was known for pasta night dinners, steak night, organizing the Chicago area LEMC Unity Banquet, and above all “bringing people together.”
“He was slowly teaching us all the importance of a big pasta dinner. Brother, your larger than life personality, laugh and Sicilian charm will be missed by all that had the pleasure to meet you,” said Grigsby.
Robles was arrested for several counts of intoxication manslaughter, and intoxication assault.
“This situation never had to happen,” said Turner noting that Robles has a criminal history, and was in the country undocumented.
In 2016 Navejas was arrested for DUI. An ICE official told FOX “he did not meet the agency’s enforcement priorities at that time.”
In 2015, Navejas was convicted of evading and resisting arrest. He was out on a $65,000 bond after allegedly beating, and running over a patron at a bar. He reportedly bit off a portion of the victim’s ear.
“We do everything we can to try to prevent things from happening [as law enforcement officers] and then we leave it in the hands of those who have more responsibility than we do. That responsibility broke down with this gentleman and he was out, we can’t do anything about it, we can’t bring those guys back,” said Turner.