TYLER COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - A 23-year-old man turned himself into the Tyle County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday in connection with allegations that he wrote a false Facebook post that claimed a person had tested positive for the coronavirus at the Tyler County Hospital as a “social experiment.”
According to a post on the Tyle County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, Michael Lane Brandin, of Woodville, was arrested and charged with Class A misdemeanor false alarm or report. A Tyler County judge set his bond amount at $1,000.
The press release stated that the sheriff’s office received multiple reports of a Facebook post that stated a person in the Tyler County area had tested positive for COVID-19 on March 13.
During the investigation, TCSO deputies learned that Brandin made the post and made contact with him, the press release stated, He allegedly told authorities that he made the post as a social experiment.
“In a comment on the post, Brandin advised that he was informed by medical professionals in Tyler County that the virus had become airborne,” the press release stated. “Brandin advised deputies his post was to make a point that you cannot believe everything you view online.”
The post said the response by law enforcement, medical, and emergency management officials was prompted by the growing concern about the coronavirus and the fact that President Donald Trump issued an emergency/disaster declaration. County Judge Jacques Blanchette issued an arrest warrant for Lane on Tuesday, and Lane surrendered to authorities later that day.
“Texas Penal Code 42.06 - False alarm or report states a person commits an offense if the person knowingly communicates a report of an emergency that he knows is false or baseless and that would ordinarily cause action by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies,” the press release stated.