AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recently completed a report regarding a fatal sailboat accident on Lake O’ the Pines that resulted in the deaths of three Boy Scouts. The report was prepared by Texas Game Wardens who responded to this incident and by the agency’s statewide boating accident reconstruction and mapping team that handled the investigation.
Although TPWD has received a request for this report from the media, there are specific laws about what information TPWD can release regarding accidents involving juveniles, and to whom that information can be released. To ensure compliance with these laws, TPWD has requested an opinion from the Office of the Texas Attorney General.
According to previous opinions from the Texas Attorney General’s office, state law prohibits TPWD from disclosing reports of accidents in which juveniles were seriously injured or killed other than to the parents of the accident victims and their legal representatives. When releasing reports of accidents involving multiple juveniles to the parents of one accident victim, TPWD must exclude certain information about the other juveniles involved. An attorney for the family of one of the accident victims has requested the report regarding the Lake O’ the Pines accident, and TPWD is providing the report in response to that request, not including the confidential information about the other juveniles.
TPWD is a public safety agency that works to protect the interests of the public. TPWD must also respect the privacy of the grieving families of juvenile accident victims. TPWD appreciates the support and understanding of the citizens of northeast Texas in our efforts to protect public safety while respecting the privacy of the citizens we serve.