Cave Creek buffalo wrangler, bar owner arrested on several charges

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

CAVE CREEK, Ariz. -- A prominent Cave Creek buffalo wrangler and business owner was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of driving under the influence and assaulting a woman he met at his bar.

Collin "T.C." Thorstenson has been charged with three counts of DUI and one count each of indecent exposure and assault - touched to injure. All of the charges are misdemeanors.

Court documents state that shortly before midnight on March 8, a woman called 911 from her cellphone in the area of 56th Street and Desert Hills Drive to report the alleged assault and indecent exposure.

The woman told a responding Maricopa County Sheriff's deputy that she went to Hogs and Horses with her friend that night. She said she had never been to the bar and rodeo venue but her friend, who reportedly knew the owner, recommended it.

The woman told the deputy she was introduced to Thorstenson, and he offered her free drinks and asked her to dance.

She could not find her friend when she was ready to leave the bar, so she accepted Thorstenson's offer to drive her to his home, according to court documents.

The woman told the sheriff's deputy that she lied down on at bed at Thorstenson's home so she could go to sleep. He then allegedly undressed himself and tried to remove her clothing.

She ran from the home, down Yucca Road, and dialed 911, according to court documents.

While one deputy was talking to the woman, another pursued a white Ford pickup truck similar to the one she described. The deputy spotted the truck on Yucca Road.

The deputy conducted a traffic stop on the truck around midnight, and it reportedly continued about 1/2 mile before pulling into the Hogs and Horses parking lot.

Court documents say the driver, identified as Thorstenson, appeared intoxicated but told the deputy he had not been drinking.

He reportedly refused to take a breath test but was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after the deputy found two nearly empty beer cans in the truck.

According to court documents, he had a blood alcohol content of at least .15 and faces one count of extreme DUI.

Thorstenson is known around the country, as he has traveled to many states to perform with his buffalo, Harvey Wallbanger.

He is the widower of newspaper heiress Margaret Lesher, whose body was recovered from Bartlett Lake in May 1997. She drowned on a camping trip she took with Thorstenson.