AUSTIN, Texas – A photographer is suing the owners and handlers of the University of Texas’ live mascot for negligence, saying he suffered permanent neck and back injuries when the longhorn steer charged out of its pen and plowed into several people at the 2019 Sugar Bowl.
Nick Wagner, who was then a photographer for the Austin American-Statesman, filed a petition Friday in Travis Country district court, the newspaper reported.
According to the petition, Wagner was on one knee shooting photos of Georgia's English bulldog mascot, Uga X, before the Texas-Georgia game at the New Orleans Superdome on Jan. 1, 2019, when the steer, Bevo XV, charged at the dog.
Uga X was quickly pulled out of harm’s way, but the steer's head and horns appeared to make contact with several people, including two photographers.
“Bevo XV rammed his longhorns twice into Plaintiff’s back causing permanent injury to Plaintiff’s neck and back,” the petition says.
Wagner, who left the newspaper in May, wants a jury trial and is seeking damages of $200,000 to $1 million.
John and Betty Baker, Bevo’s owners, are named as defendants along with the Silver Spurs Alumni Association. The group is in charge of handling the 1,700-pound (770-kilogram) steer, which has been the mascot for the University of Texas since the start of the 2016 season.
Wagner’s attorney Jon Powell said he has wracked up more than $24,000 in medical bills. Medical documents show Wagner suffered “loss of motion” and “impairment” in two areas of his spine.
The Silver Spurs Alumni Association carries a liability policy with Cincinnati Insurance. But Wagner’s claims for repayment of his medical bills have been met with “radio silence,” Powell said.
Edward Osuna, the San Antonio-based attorney of record for Cincinnati Insurance, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Bevo continues to attend games but his pen has been substantially renovated to keep him contained.