A 30-year-old man, Anthony Braddick Welsh, in Liberty County, Texas was arrested and charged with endangering a child after an eyewitness snapped a photo of him with his toddler son on a motorcycle and shared it on Facebook, which went viral, according to the Dallas News.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, two people—who asked to remain anonymous—were traveling near Tarkington Prairie, about 55 miles northeast of Houston, when they encountered a man on a motorcycle leaving a gas station with his young son, unsecured, resting on the gas tank area. The individuals quickly snapped a photo of the father and son and shared it on social media after alerting police.
The image of the boy, whose age has not been determined, on the motorcycle went viral and as a result, the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office received countless of calls from irate citizens, asking if the man in the picture had been arrested. It was reported that several individuals called in to report his identity and possible address.
After viewing the viral Facebook photo, Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Ken DeFoor stated that “it appears the motorcyclist was pressing the child between himself and the gas tank to keep it on the bike. That is never a good idea. It’s foolish and dangerous.”
In a press conference, the sheriff’s office stated that “deputies have made numerous day and night runs on his reported address in an effort to arrest Welsh.”
When the photo began circulating the internet, it was mentioned that a man claiming to be the one operating the motorcycle wrote a comment under the picture, which stated as follows: “I seen all of your posts and got all your threats screen shot so keep talking s***t about me and will see how that works for you and the one who took this picture it would be in your best interest to take it off!”
However, it has not been proven if the comment was written by Welsh.
When the man was identified as Welsh, police officials uncovered that he was arrested on Tuesday, May 30 on an outstanding traffic warrant, but he soon bonded out of jail. Even if he was identified as the motorcyclist in the photo while incarcerated, DeFoor stated that they “didn’t have enough on him when he was arrested in Deer Park. We needed the witness statements to get the latest warrant.”
Defoor explained that “unless an officer observes the violation, we can’t write him a ticket based on a photo.”
When two witnesses came forward and confirmed that they saw Welsh riding on his motorcycle with his toddler son, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
The man who captured the viral Facebook photo stated that his reason for posting the photo on social media wasn’t to have him thrown in jail, but it was to make him aware that his choice to take his toddler son on a motorcycle ride was putting the child’s life at risk.
At around 4:45 p.m. on Thursday, Anthony turned himself in with his attorney by his side. He was booked into a Liberty County jail and was given a $5,000 bail.
After Welsh’s arrest, the sheriff’s office released the following statement:
“Under Texas law, no child under five (5) years old shall be a passenger on a motorcycle and any passenger that does ride as a second person on the motorcycle must be seated in a secured seat to the back of the motorcycle with secure handgrips and two-foot pegs.”
If anyone has information regarding the viral Facebook photo of a father and toddler son on a motorcycle, you are urged to contact Liberty County Sheriff’s Office at 936-336-4505.
An investigation continues.
[Featured Image by Liberty County Sheriff’s Office]