Game wardens file charges in hit and run boating accident

aabadgeIt was a busy weekend for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens during Memorial Day.


TPWD recently announced game wardens have filed felony charges against a Galveston man accused of failing to stop and render aid while operating a motorboat that collided with a sailboat in the Galveston Channel Sunday night.


Dustin Paul Lunsford, 29, of Galveston, has been charged with violating section 31.104 of the state Parks and Wildlife Code, a felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in jail and $2,000 to $10,000 in possible fines.


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


The two occupants of the sailboat were taken to the University of Texas at Galveston Medical Branch Hospital Sunday night. Injured were Scott Perry, 50, and Celia Stastny, 68, both of Galveston. Perry was reported in serious condition over the weekend in the hospital’s intensive care unit. Stastny also was hospitalized, but with less serious injuries.


The incident occurred between 9 and 9:30 p.m. just past Seawolf Fishing Pier off Galveston Island.


Game Warden Jaime Pendlebury of Galveston, who is investigating the incident, said a motorboat struck the 27-foot sailboat on its starboard side, knocking a hole in the back quarter of the vessel.


Pendlebury said the motorboat sped away after the collision. Perry, who had been operating the sailboat under motor power, was thrown into the water. Stastny had been standing near the entrance to the cabin at the time of impact and was knocked into the cabin.


Pendlebury said Stastny pulled Perry from the water, and then used a cell phone to call 911. The U.S. Coast Guard responded to the scene, got the injured couple to the hospital and towed the damaged sailboat back to the Galveston Yacht Basin, where it had been moored.


Game wardens are continuing to investigate the case, including whether alcohol consumption 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, a major cause of boating accidents and fatalities.


Statewide, from Friday-Monday, May 24-27, Texas game wardens worked multiple drowning recovery operations, including search and rescue and victim recovery related to the San Antonio flood, as well as boat accident investigations. Game wardens arrested 63 suspects for boating while intoxicated and two for driving while intoxicated.