Galveston man charged after allegedly fleeing scene of a boat crash that injured two people

Dustin Lunsford of Galveston is charged with violating section 31.104 of the state Parks and Wildlife Code. At right, investigators examine the damaged sailboat Lunsford allegedly struck with his motorboat before fleeing.

May 28, 2013 1:56:06 PM PDT
A Galveston man is charged after allegedly fleeing the scene of a boat crash that injured two people.

It happened around 9pm Sunday just past Seawolf Fishing Pier off of Galveston Island.

According to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials, 28-year-old Dustin Paul Lunsford was operating a motorboat when he collided with a 27-foot sailboat on its starboard side, knocking a hole in the back quarter of the vessel. Officials said the motorboat sped away after the collision.

A man and woman in the sailboat were taken to UTMB Hospital. Officials said the man, 50, had been operating the sailboat. He was thrown into the water by the collision. According to game wardens, he was reported in serious condition over the weekend in the hospital's intensive care unit.

The woman, 68, had been standing near the entrance to the cabin at the time of impact and was knocked into the cabin. She pulled the male victim from the water and called 911. She also was hospitalized this weekend, but with less serious injuries.

After talking with boat owners at the Galveston Yacht Basin on Monday, game wardens located a damaged vessel they believe to be the motorboat that struck the sailboat Sunday night.

Lunsford is charged with failing to stop and render aid, a felony punishable by two to 10 years in jail and up to $10,000 in possible fines.

Game wardens are continuing to investigate this case, including whether alcohol may have been involved.

Meanwhile, game wardens were busy across the state during the Memorial Day weekend, including investigating multiple cases of boating while intoxicated (BWI), a major cause of boating accidents and fatalities.

Statewide from Friday-Monday, Texas game wardens worked multiple drowning recovery operations as well as boat accident investigations. Game wardens arrested 63 suspects for boating while intoxicated and two for driving while intoxicated.

Officials stressed three key tips to avoid accidents and save lives: avoid drinking alcohol while operating a boat, wear a life jacket and take a boater education course. See more information on the TPWD boater education program webpage.

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