Dennis Byers: Police arrest intoxicated man found riding horse with 3-year-old child

TULSA - A child remains in protective custody after police arrested a drunk man riding a horse Monday night.

According to the police report, an officer was dispatched to East 56th Street North and North Lewis around 8 p.m. after police received a report of an intoxicated subject carrying a small child on a horse.

Police say Dennis Byers had blood shot eyes, slurred speech, was unsteady on his feet and smelled of alcohol when they found him atop the horse with a 3-year-old boy.

Byers, who is on probation in Missouri for child endangerment, said he "had an alcoholic beverage at 4 and 5 p.m." but couldn't say where the child's family lived, their phone numbers or the child's last name, according to the report.

The child was placed in a DHS shelter and Byers was arrested for public intoxication and child abuse and booked into the Tulsa County Jail on $50,100 bond.

The boy's father, Tim Smith, said Tuesday night he was with Byers and his son just before the arrest. According to Smith, he met Byers three weeks ago while on a construction job. 

Somewhere down the line, Smith said he struck a deal: Byers' horse for $50. Smith said he bought the horse for his son.

That transaction led to, as Smith depicts it, Byers leading the horse down the road by a rope with the child on top of it and Smith's vehicle trailing close behind. 

But, Smith said, he was soon called back to a construction job, forcing him to leave his son with Byers. Ten minutes later, Smith said, Byers was arrested and his son taken into DHS custody.

"I guess I made a big mistake," he said. "I love him with all my heart, all I was trying to do was make up for his [Christmas] presents and give him a horse."

Byers' ex-girlfriend, Dawn Adams, said Tuesday she received a call from the 38-year-old Tulsa man while he was on the horse. 

"It was crazy," she recalled. "He was like, 'Whoop whoop! You gotta help me. You gotta help me."

The horse, which was initially taken by Tulsa Animal Control, is now in a Collinsville stockyard. Smith said Tuesday he is hopeful his son will be returned to him.

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