BURLESON (CBSDFW.COM) – Jessica Curs – wife, mother, respected coach of young girls in North Texas – never thought she’d be framed in such a picture, dressed in jail stripes, her back against a wall that showed her standing five feet, six inches low.
It was in the heat of emotions, during a game between 9-year-olds, that an off-duty policeman said she called him an ugly name.
Curs denied the accusation, saying the officer, in plain clothes, misunderstood her.
Nevertheless, the incident threw her in jail, for six hours, beginning with the click of her mugshot.
“It blows my mind,” she told the CBS 11 News I-Team.
“I don’t understand how someone can have it in them to do something so horrible,” she said of the off-duty police captain who put her there.
Before she was introduced to the justice system, for the first time, the 31-year-old coach from Burleson was best known for her girls’ winning teams, no matter what sport, soccer, softball, basketball.
There was one time when her girls even beat the boys, much to the consternation of the parents on the opposing team.
Then in late February, during a basketball game in Burleson with a strong rival, Alvarado, all hell broke out.
“The whole game they’re saying little things at me, like quiet, so the coaches hear it, my husband hears it, the monitor heard it,” Curs recalled.
With just minutes left to play, she said something back – in words that are still in dispute.
But the warrant for her arrest – issued more than two months later – says “her behavior constituted a criminal offense.”
That assessment came from the person she exchanged words with that day, off-duty Capt. Gary Melson of the Alvarado Police Department. He told her he’d heard her use profanity.
Melson declined requests by the I-Team to give his account of what happened during that game. Additionally, the Alvarado police department wouldn’t give CBS 11 a statement either.
But the game’s referee, Andy Love, did talk to us.
“That’s absurd. I saw nothing that happened in that gym that would warrant anybody having to go to jail,” Love said.
“We got a foul. I blow the whistle. I turn to report my foul and I’ve got some guy standing on the edge of the gym floor grabbing a coach by the arm, trying to pull her off the court,” he said.
Curs said: “He was wearing totally normal clothes. Just a guy who had been pestering me the whole game.”
Love said he went over to find out what was going on, at which time Melson told him, ‘I’m an off-duty Alvarado police captain and I’m holding this lady for the Burleson police.’ “
The arriving officers from Burleson filed a report that said Melson “didn’t want a citation issued, but just wanted this issue to be resolved.”
Love said those officers seemed dismayed that they were called in the first place. “Quite honestly, one of them had a problem keeping a straight face,” the referee said.
Free to go, Curs went directly from Burleson to coach another game in Alvarado, where she was met by another officer in that town, who handed her a criminal trespass warning that said she was not wanted in their school gym.
She signed the warning, as requested by the officer, and was allowed to stay and watch the game because her daughter was playing. But she was not allowed to coach.
It was not clear what, if anything, initiated the warning, other than Melson’s accusation that Curs had said something ugly to him in the earlier game in Burleson.
Both the Alvarado school district and a private youth association that was using the gym told the I-Team they did not ask police to issue the warning.
Curs said she thought her run-in with Melson was behind her after that day.
But more than two months later, Curs opened her mail and found a warrant for her arrest, accusing her of “evading arrest.”
“When I opened that envelope, I promise you, all the color went out of my face,” she said.
Curs turned herself in to the Johnson County Jail, where she spent six hours, even though paperwork said it should have been a “walk-through” with no time behind bars.
Last week, seven months after that game between Burleson and Alvarado, police in Alvarado finished their paperwork in the case and handed it over to Burleson prosecutors.
They were about to formally file a Class A misdemeanor charge against Curs, accusing her of “intentionally” fleeing from Melson, even though she knew he was a “peace officer who was attempting to lawfully arrest or detain the defendant.”
However, County Attorney Bill Moore said his office is reconsidering filing a charge, “in light” of what the I-Team has uncovered, and will continue to review the case, in hopes of interviewing further witnesses, including the referee Love.
Meanwhile, Curs continues to coach girls in whatever sport is in season, shaken – but not deterred – by the experience that threw her behind bars.
“It’s so competitive,” she told the I-Team, “that this man, and these fans, and this coach were so into this game of 9-year-olds, of third-graders, that things like this happen.”