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Country Thunder Arrests: Fan and DPS Officer Taken to Jail

Rick Diamond, Getty Images

One man has serious injuries and another is behind bars after a violent fight at the Country Thunder Festival in Florence, Ariz., on Saturday (April 13). When police responded to an an altercation between two groups, they found a 36-year-old man with stab wounds to his upper back and rib cage. The victim, whose name has not yet been released, was airlifted to the Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center where he remains in critical condition. The suspect, 20-year-old Austin Hansen, is now in jail facing charges of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct.

In an unrelated incident, a Department of Public Safety officer was also arrested at the Country Thunder festival. Local news station ABC 15 reports that 41-year-old officer Steven Svestka was taken into custody at the Moonshine Willy’s bar inside the festival grounds. He was allegedly intoxicated and refused to leave the women’s restroom area of the bar. After being “combative” with police, he was handcuffed and charged with disorderly conduct and hindering a government operation. Svestka has since been released.

The four-day Country Thunder festival was headlined by Brantley Gilbert, Eric Church, Toby Keith and Lady Antebellum. Other performers included Lee Brice, Kip Moore, Jana Kramer, Love and Theft, Justin Moore, Jerrod Niemann, Tracy Lawrence, Chris Janson and Diamond Rio.

“Our primary concern is always the safety and experience of our patrons, music fans and the general public,” reports festival organizer Brian Andrews. We don’t feel the actions of one person should overshadow four amazing days and nights of events.”

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