Both boat operators cited in Buffalo Springs crash

Both boat operators cited in Buffalo Springs crash

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Both boat operators in the fatal crash that injured 10 people and left a child dead have been issued a citation for reckless or negligent operation.

Investigators believed they were operating their boats in a way that endangered people's lives and safety.

"You need to keep a prudent speed in the water and have proper lookouts. You may not be the only boat on the water so you need to be looking out for other boats, other swimmers, other water skiers, shoreline property, it's a very complicated process," said Lubbock District Game Warden Aaron Sims.

The cited boat operators are looking at a fine ranging from $25 to $500, if found guilty, but both are still able to get behind the wheel of a boat as of now.

"The class C citation is going to be between them and the justice of the peace. Being cited does not mean they're guilty, they're still going to have their time with the court of law and they can either enter a plea or a non-guilty at that time," Sims said.

Further charges would be warranted if one or both operators had been drinking at the time of the crash, but investigators have ruled out alcohol as a factor in this case. They say they still stand by that now.

"As far as criminal charges, this is what we're looking at, the two class C misdemeanors for negligent operation," Sims said.

Both boats were taken by investigators after the crash. Investigators took pictures and measurements as they try to piece together what exactly happened on the water.

"They'll put that all together in a model to figure out who was going what direction, try and get the best speed that they can. There's no skid marks like there would be on the road, on the water, but you can kinda guesstimate by the velocity and direction of impact about how fast they were going," Sims said.

Sims says the boats have now been released back to the owners for insurance purposes.

He was unable to confirm if everyone had their life jackets on at the time of the crash, but he says all of that will be revealed in the final report.

Sims says they encourage people to go out and use their watercraft, but to do so in a safe manner.

"The biggest tip I want to give out is your life jackets. They're your seat belt for the water."

Anyone under the age of 13 is required to have a life jacket on at all times while on the water.

The life jacket also has to be properly secured and specific for their body weight and measurements.

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