Lake Meredith
NPS logo

The following Incident Reports were extracted from the NPS Morning Reports/Coalition Reports from 1989-2024. They are not a complete record of all incidents which occurred in this park during this timeframe.


May 26, 1987
87-80 - Lake Meredith - Possible Drowning

Location: Near Cedar Canyon

Mr. R.P. and five others were in a water-skiing party on the lake when bad weather came up. A park ranger advised them to get off the lake because of the 4' high waves, but the group wanted to stay on the water until one more skiier got a chance to ski. That skiier got into trouble, so R.P. jumped in to help. He was not wearing a life vest. At the same time, the boat capsized, and the occupants had to cling to the hull until the boat reached shore. The skiier also made it to land, but R.P. disappeared. A shoreline search was conducted last night, but a full search of the lake will not be made until the weather abates.

August 31, 1987
87-219 - Lake Meredith - Drowning

Location: Not specified

J.S.G. had been drinking since noon on the 29th. He went swimming with two companions and went under for no apparent reason. A SCUBA training class was in session nearby; two students, unaware of the situation, came upon his body. CPR was started by a ranger, but to no avail.

December 22, 1987
87-277 - Lake Meredith - Search for Lost Hunter

Location: Unspecified

H.P.N. came to the park to go hunting on the 16th; when he failed to return home as scheduled on the following afternoon, the park began a search, employing helicopters, dog teams and ground searchers. Since H.P.N. was not adequately- dressed for cold temperatures, which had dropped into the 20's overnight, there was concern about his exposure to the elements. Late on Sunday morning, H.P.N.'s body was found by a local ranch worker near the park boundary. Hypothermia has been ruled as the probable cause of death.

March 14, 1988
88-35 - Lake Meredith - Visitor Fatality

Location: Not specified

F.G.B. and two friends were riding all-terrain vehicles (ATV's) in the park. When one of the other ATV's stalled out, F.G.B. turned around to assist, accelerated, and went over a bluff. He fell about 15' and the ATV fell on top of him. F.G.B. was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

Thursday, September 7, 1989
89-262 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Shooting Incident

On the evening of September 2nd, W.V.G., 27, and his wife, N.R.G., of Amarillo, Texas, were camping at Harbor Bay when they decided to join a group of campers who were drinking, singing and chanting in the campground. Around 8:30 p.m., B.D. and two other men from Amarillo approached the group in a very antagonistic manner and asked them to quiet down. One of the three men had a machete. During the ensuing argument, W.V.G. was hit with the butt end or flat side of the machete; he then pulled a knife and another member of the group grabbed a hatchet. The sequence of events that followed is still unclear, but it appears that W.V.G. then got a .357 revolver from his truck, lost it in the general melee that followed, and was shot in the head and stomach, probably by B.D. N.R.G. was shot through the leg. B.D. and his two friends fled, threw the pistol and machete into Lake Meredith, packed up all their gear and left the park. A park dispatcher who was monitoring local frequencies on a scanner heard an ambulance being dispatched to Harbor Bay and sent a ranger to investigate. The ranger helped provide life support to W.V.G. and rode with him to the hospital; the second ranger to arrive began an investigation. Although most of the twenty or so people at the scene were intoxicated, the ranger was able to get a description of the vehicle the three men had left in. The dispatcher recognized the vehicle as one which had been stopped earlier in the day for a traffic infraction, pulled the violation notice and got enough information on it to provide Amarillo PD officers with the name and address of the owner. B.D.'s two friends were arrested as they arrived at home, and B.D. was arrested on the 5th on a federal warrant issued by the FBI. B.D. has a long criminal history, and was on parole from an ADW (assault with a deadly weapon) conviction. W.V.G. is still alive, but he is on life support equipment and is reported to be deteriorating rapidly. An Amarillo dive team is on site looking for the weapons thrown into the lake. The Moore County Sheriff's Office is the lead agency on the investigation; they are being assisted by NPS rangers and the FBI. (Telephone report from Bill Tanner, RAD/SWRO).

Monday, February 5, 1990
89-262 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Follow-up on Shooting Incident

On September 2, 1989, an altercation at a park campground at Harbor Bay resulted in the shooting of W.G. The assailant, 20-year-old D.G.D. of Amarillo, shot W.G. in the head, causing him permanent brain damage. The case went to trial in district court in Dumas, Texas, on January 8th. At the trial's conclusion, the jury found D.G.D. not guilty of attempted murder, but guilty of the lesser charge of aggravated assault. After hearing additional evidence, the jury returned an enhanced sentence of 20 years in the state penitentiary. (CompuServe message from LAMR, 3 p.m. EST, 2/2/90).

Thursday, December 6, 1990
90-437 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Search in Progress

A search was begun at Lake Meredith when L.B., 57, of Borger, Texas, was reported as missing on the evening of December 4th. L.B.'s vehicle was found in the park at Fritch Fortress; it was locked with the keys inside. L.B. is a cancer patient. Rangers concluded a land search yesterday, and will begin dragging the lake this morning. (Pat McCrary, Superintendent, LAMR, via telefax from Bill Tanner, RAD/SWRO, 12/5).

Tuesday, December 18, 1990
90-437 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Update on Search

Park personnel are still searching for L.B., 56, of Borger, Texas, who was reported missing on the evening of December 4th. Land search efforts have been discontinued, but a water search is still underway. The water search consists of checking the lake shoreline by boat each morning and evening and observing the shoreline from selected high points. Some sonar checks are also being conducted; likely signatures are being investigated by dragging or by divers. (Telefax from RAD/SWRO, 12/14).

Friday, March 8, 1991
90-437 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Followup on Search

On the evening of December 4, 1990, rangers began a search for L.B., 57, after he was reported missing and his vehicle was found at Fritch Fortress. No sign of L.B. was found, though, until March 7th, when two fishermen discovered his body along the lake shore near the fortress. An autopsy has been scheduled to determine the cause of death. [Telefax from Cliff Chetwin, RAD/SWRO, 3/7]

Friday, March 15, 1991
91-71 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Bomb

A water authority employee discovered a pipe bomb in the lake at the north end of the dam on the 14th. The bomb, which was made from an 18inchlong section of galvanized pipe with caps on each end, had a primer cord fuse which had burned down to the hole in the cap where it entered the pipe. It apparently had been in the water for several weeks, and may have been there for several months. The employee picked up the bomb, examined it, pulled the fuse part way out, then placed it in the back of his truck and drove it to his office. At the time the report was filed, the bomb was being guarded in a remote area and the Amarillo bomb squad was en route to the scene. The FBI and ATF had been notified. [Larry Neilsen, CR, LAME, via CompuServe message from RAD/SWRO, 3/14]

Tuesday, April 2, 1991
91-87 - Lake Meredith (Texas)- MVA with Two Fatalities

On the afternoon of March 24th, a four-wheel-drive vehicle left the Sanford-Yake access road, travelled over 200 feet along the left shoulder, then skidded 100 feet across the pavement, spun around, rolled three times, and plunged 225 feet down an embankment. The mother and daughter in the vehicle were both ejected; the mother died instantly, and the daughter died while being transported to a trauma center in Amarillo. A large quantity of beer and two bags containing suspected marijuana residue were found in the vehicle and accident debris. It's estimated that the vehicle was travelling at a speed of 57 mph in a 35 mph zone. Although the vehicle was registered to the daughter, it's unclear who was driving. Autopsies are pending. Texas DPS officers are assisting in the investigation. [Pat McCrary, Superintendent, LAMR, via telefax from RAD/SWRO, 3/25]

Thursday, May 30, 1991
91-186 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Drowning

V.I., 19, of Dumas, Texas, was swimming with friends in the South Cliffs area of the lake on the afternoon of the 27th. While attempting to swim across the South Canyon embayment, he experienced problems and went under. His friends attempted to rescue him, but without success. Park divers recovered his body an hour later. Early indications are that alcohol was not a factor, and that V.I. simply exceeded his ability. [CompuServe message from Bill Tanner, RAD/SWRO, 5/29]

Wednesday, July 31, 1991
91-351 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Drowning

On July 4th, 17-year-old M.H. slipped underwater for unknown reasons while at Stilling Basin. Visiting scuba divers found him at the lake's bottom and brought him to the surface. Although he'd been underwater for over ten minutes, rangers and local ambulance personnel were able to restore his heartbeat and some respiration. M.H. was taken to a hospital in Amarillo and placed on a respirator. His condition worsened, though, and he died on July 26th. [CompuServe message from Bonnie Winslow, RAD/SWRO, 7/30]

Thursday, August 1, 1991
91-358 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Threats Against Ranger

On July 30th, M.M. entered park headquarters in Fritch, Texas, and asked to see superintendent Pat McCrary in order to complain about one of the Lake Meredith rangers. M.M. subsequently told McCrary that ranger Bob Gravestock and a Texas game warden had recently conducted an illegal search of his boat and had otherwise been harassing him. M.M. then launched a personal attack on Gravestock and stated that he would "take care of the problem" and get both Gravestock and the warden. M.M. repeated his threats as he left the building. Texas Department of Safety offices and local FBI agents were contacted; Gravestock, the warden, and all local enforcement were apprised of the threats. On July 31st, FBI agents interviewed McCrary, Gravestock and the warden, then departed to interview M.M.. The investigation continues. [Pat McCrary, Superintendent, LAMR, via CompuServe message from Jim Radney, LES, RAD/SWRO, 7/31]

Friday, August 9, 1991
91-358 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Followup on Threats to Ranger

FBI agents have concluded their initial investigation into threats made against ranger Bob Gravestock and a Texas game warden by M.M. and have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to seek criminal charges against M.M.. They will continue to monitor the situation and have advised Gravestock on precautions which he should take. [CompuServe message from Jim Radney, RAD/SWRO, 8/8]

Wednesday, August 21, 1991
91-422 - Lake Meredith (Texas)- Boating Fatality

A sailboat carrying two passengers capsized on the lake on August 18th. One person was able to return to the boat, but the second, a 31-year-old male, disappeared. Rangers and Texas Parks and Wildlife personnel immediately began a search of the lake and its shoreline, but have not yet found him. The person who returned to the boat was able to right it but could not stop it. A ranger with sailboating experience boarded the runaway boat and got it under control. [Larry Nielson, LAME, via CompuServe message from Bonnie Winslow, RAD/SWRO, 8/19]

Friday, August 23, 1991
91-422 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Followup on Boating Fatality

The body of D.J., 31, was spotted east of Arrowhead Island on August 21st and was subsequently recovered. Rangers had been searching for Josserand since he was knocked overboard by his sailboat's boom during a period of high winds. D.J. and a female companion were the only occupants of the sailboat, which had been stationary near the island when wind gusts swept the boom around. [CompuServe message from Bonnie Winslow, RAD/SWRO, 8/21; United Press report, 8/22]

Tuesday, December 3, 1991
91-642 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Body Recovery

The body of an male homicide victim was recovered in the Rosita area on November 28th. The homicide took place in Amarillo, and a person claiming to have killed the man turned himself in to that city's police department. It's believed that the victim was killed in his home and that the body was then wrapped in blankets and dropped into the lake. The FBI has been notified, but the Amarillo police department special crimes unit is conducting the investigation. [Telefax from Jim Radney, RLES, RAD/SWRO, 11/29]

Friday, January 3, 1992
91-675 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Search

When 13-year-old T.H. of Amarillo became lost while quail hunting in a river bottom in the park around noon on December 27th, his companions hiked out and reported the incident to rangers. The park's search plan was implemented, and a search was begun which employed units from the park; the towns of Fritch and Sanford; Potter, Moore and Hutchison counties; the Texas Department of Public Safety; Texas Parks and Wildlife; the Civil Air Patrol; the American Red Cross; and the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority. Larry Neilson, the park's chief ranger, was incident commander. The search continued through the night. Aircraft were to join in at dawn, but flights were canceled because of low ceilings. Meanwhile, T.H. spotted the lights of an oil and gas production facility, crossed the river, and walked out to it. T.H. was warmly dressed in several layers of clothing, which probably saved his life. [Larry Neilson, CR, LAMR, via CompuServe message from RAD/SWRO, 1/2]

Tuesday, June 30, 1992
92-311 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Storm Damage

A severe thunderstorm with four tornados, large hail, high winds and heavy rain struck the park and Fritch, Texas, at about 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 27th. Many trees, most park boat ramps, and a dozen vehicles were damaged to some degree; damage to park structures was minimal, but the homes of four employees received more significant damage. The damage estimate for the park is placed at $50,000. The town of Fritch and two local counties have been declared disaster areas with 200 homes destroyed and heavy damage reported to 800 homes and many vehicles and campers. FEMA has been brought in and park headquarters are being used as the command post for area operations. All park resources have been dedicated to these efforts, and most park employees are working 12-hour shifts. A thorough search of the entire community and all structures for dead and injured persons is in progress. A similar effort is underway on park lands. The park has serious concerns about handling anticipated crowds on the Fourth of July weekend and will be working with region on acquiring needed assistance. [Bill Tanner, RCR, RAD/SWRO, 6/29]

Friday, December 11, 1992
92-640 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Hunting Season Activities

The park's 16-day-long general deer hunting season concluded on December 6th. During that period, hunters took 49 mule deer and 53 white-tailed deer. Another three white-tailed deer were taken during the earlier archery season. This is the second consecutive year in which more than 100 deer have been taken. Rangers also assisted state game wardens on two hunting trespass cases in which hunters trespassed from the park well into adjacent private ranch lands to kill deer. [Larry Neilson, CR, LAMR, 12/8]

Friday, June 25, 1993 93-404 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Drownings

On June 24th, R.J., D.N., and D.N.'s two-year-old son Cameron were boating on Lake Meredith when the boat capsized and all three fell overboard. The park was asked to look for the trio at 7:30 p.m. and found R.J. in the water a half hour later. The body of C.N. was found near the Blue West area at 11:30 p.m. As of 6 a.m. the following morning, searchers had yet to find D.N. About 50 people were still searching for him by boat and foot along with a Texas DPS helicopter from Lubbock. [Patrick McCrary, LAMR, 6/24]

Wednesday, June 30, 1993
93-404 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Follow-up on Drownings

The body of D.N. was found yesterday in Rhinehart Canyon approximately 150 yards from the point where his two-year-old son drowned on June 23rd. The early model boat D.N. was operating capsized that day and threw him, his son, and R.J. into the lake. R.J. was rescued by rangers at 8 p.m. that evening. [Patrick McCrary, LAMR, 6/29]

Wednesday, September 8, 1993
93-677 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Drowning

At 1:25 p.m. on September 6th, rangers were notified of a possible drowning at Cedar Canyon. They discovered that 17-year-old T.D.B. of Amarillo had been swimming from a rock toward a picnic table on shore when he apparently went under. Park and local rescue teams were immediately dispatched to the area. T.D.B.'s body was found by park personnel at 2:45 p.m. Investigators suspect that T.D.B.'s blue jeans slid down and began collecting water when he dove into the lake; T.D.B. then panicked and was unable to remove them. A blood toxicology test is being performed, and the investigation continues. [Patrick McCrary, Superintendent, LAMR, 9/6]

Tuesday, November 23, 1993
93-814 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Accidental Fatal Shooting

T.R., 51, of Hereford, Texas, was fatally shot while hunting in the Rosita Flats portion of the park on the afternoon of November 21st. Roe's companion, A.M., told investigating rangers that he'd reached to catch a falling high-powered hunting rifle when it accidentally discharged and struck T.R. in the upper left chest. A medivac helicopter was dispatched to the scene, but found that T.R. had already succumbed. An investigation into the incident is underway. [Patrick McCrary, Superintendent, LAMR, 11/22]

Thursday, December 2, 1993
93-837 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Suicide

On the afternoon of November 30th, the park was notified that the family of 44-year-old S.Y. had found a note from S.Y. saying that he was going to the Blue Creek area of the park to commit suicide. Rangers and a county deputy subsequently found S.Y.'s body next to his vehicle near Blue Creek campground. He apparently died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound; a .38 caliber handgun was found at the scene. S.Y. had been suffering from depression. [Patrick McCrary, LAMR, 12/1]

Tuesday, March 8, 1994
94-107 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Dune Buggy Accident; Fatality

G.R., 35, of Amarillo, Texas, was killed on the afternoon of March 6th in a dune buggy accident in the Rosita off-road area. G.R. and two passengers were climbing a hill in the dune buggy, failed to reach the top, and tried to back down. The vehicle went sideways and tipped over; all three occupants were ejected, and the vehicle rolled over them. G.R. was medevaced to Amarillo, where he died from severe internal bleeding. A 16- year-old female passenger in the buggy suffered a broken collar bone; a 17- year-old male passenger refused treatment. Alcohol is believed to have been a contributing factor. [Tony Bonanno, RCR, RAD/SWRO, 3/7]

Wednesday, April 6, 1994
94-154 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - MVA with Serious Injuries

Early on the morning of April 2nd, J.B. was traveling to the Harbor Bay area of Lake Meredith to check on one of his vehicles, which was stuck near the lake's shoreline. While driving on an undesignated dirt road, he lost control of his vehicle, which then struck a Camaro, ran over 14-year- old Jason Falwell, and struck 16-year-old S.H. Both boys were camped in a campsite. Falwell was in his sleeping bag when the accident occurred; he is in serious condition with internal injuries and fractures. S.H. suffered a fractured femur and was also hospitalized. The accident is still under investigation. Alcohol was not involved. The case will go to the U.S. and county attorneys for a determination of what charges are to be filed. [LAMR, 4/5]

Tuesday, April 19, 1994
94-172 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Probable Drowning

B.D.B., 26, and T.E.F., 25, both of Amarillo, were on their way across the lake at 1 a.m. on April 9th when B.D.B. fell out of their nine-foot inflatable raft. Fine searched for B.D.B. for about an hour and a half before notifying rangers. Neither of the men was wearing a PFD. A multi-agency search for the victim was underway at the time of the report. [Patrick McCrary, LAMR, 4/9]

Wednesday, November 23, 1994
94-653 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Successful Search

Early on the evening of November 19th, the opening day of general deer hunting season, the park received notification that 48-year-old M.T. of White Deer, Texas, had failed to return from a hunting trip as scheduled. M.T. was last seen in the riverbed of the Canadian River near the Plum Creek area. Searchers were very concerned about M.T. because he was an insulin-dependent diabetic and did not have his insulin with him, and because rain, fog and an increasing cold wind had created hypothermic weather conditions. Park ranger Old Mouse and M.T.s' hunting companion, Steven Kossey, located the overdue hunter by responding to gun shots that M.T. was firing. [Patrick McCrary, LAMR, 11/22]

Tuesday, January 31, 1995
94-172 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Follow-up on Drowning

B.D.B., 26, and his brother-in-law, T.E.F., 25, both of Amarillo, were on their way across the lake in an inflatable raft around 1 a.m. on April 9, 1994, when B.D.B. reportedly fell out of the raft. Rangers recovered B.D.B.'s body from the lake ten days later. A joint investigation into the incident was begun by the park and county sheriff's department when inconsistencies were detected in T.E.F.'s story of the incident, which were amplified by suspicions raised by B.D.B.'s parents. The FBI also became involved. T.E.F. subsequently admitted to getting B.D.B. drunk, causing him to fall out of the boat by making the boat lurch, then leaving him to drown. T.E.F. said that he first started thinking about the act after watching TV coverage of an accidental double drowning on the lake the previous year. T.E.F., who is now trying to recant his confession, will be arraigned in federal court on murder charges shortly. Investigators have also learned that B.D.B.'s spouse took out a substantial life insurance policy on him during the winter of 1993-1994. Charges of conspiracy and/or insurance fraud may be filed against her and her mother. Both were present at the lake at the time of the incident, although they were waiting on shore. [Larry Neilson, CR, LAMR, 1/29]

Monday, February 13, 1995
94-172 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Follow-up on Homicide

T.E.F., Jr., 26, of Amarillo, was charged on a two-count indictment filed in federal district court on February 9th. The first count was a murder charge, which stemmed from the death of T.E.F.'s brother-in-law, Billy Dean Bratcher, on April 9, 1994. The second count was for escaping from the custody of FBI agents. T.E.F. had agreed to record conversations with others who may have conspired in Bratcher's murder, but got nervous while carrying out the assignment and fled. He was arrested on January 24th in Sacramento, California. T.E.F. is scheduled to appear in federal court in Amarillo this week. Bratcher's drowning was originally reported as an accident. [CRO, LAMR, 2/13]

Friday, February 17, 1995
95-69 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Assist; Felony Arrest

A Deaf Smith County fugitive and his wife were arrested by rangers on February 9th. L.W., who was being held for a probation violation in Hereford, Texas, escaped from custody while at a dental appointment and fled in a car driven by his wife, A.W., on February 6th. Three days later, A.W. approached two park visitors at the Lower McBride area and asked for assistance with her disabled vehicle. L.W. was evidently hiding in the bushes at the time. Rangers were eventually notified of the disabled vehicle; ranger Mark Foust responded, quickly identified the W.s, and arrested them. L.W. was still wearing handcuffs. The Lower McBride area is fairly remote and accessible by seldom travelled roads. Indications were that the W.s had been in the area for some time. L.W. was on probation following release from prison, where he was incarcerated for an assortment of offenses, including assault, vehicle theft and evading arrest. [CR, LAMR, 2/15]

Monday, March 27, 1995
94-154 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Follow-up on MVA with Serious Injuries

Last week, J.B. was found guilty of failure to maintain control of his vehicle in federal magistrate's court in Amarillo. Charges against him stemmed from an incident that occurred on April 3, 1994. J.B. was traveling to the Harbor Bay area of the park early that morning to check on one of his vehicles, which was stuck near the lake's shoreline. While driving on an undesignated dirt road, he lost control of his vehicle, which then struck a Camaro, ran over 14-year-old J.F., who was in a sleeping bag, and struck 16-year-old S.H. Both boys were camped in a campsite at the time. Witnesses testified that J.B. was traveling too fast at the time, and that he apparently tried to hit his brakes but pushed down on the accelerator instead. J.B. was fined $500 and ordered to perform 20 hours of community service. The accident is also the subject of civil litigation in state court. [CR, LAMR, 3/23]

Monday, May 8, 1995
94-172 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Follow-up on Homicide

The sister and parents of T.F., who was charged last year with the murder of his brother-in-law, B.D.B., have been indicted on twelve counts of conspiring to commit murder and committing mail fraud in an attempt to defraud B.D.B.'s insurance company. T.F.'s sister was married to B.D.B.. B.D.B. and T.F. were crossing the lake in an inflatable raft around 1 a.m. on April 9, 1994, when B.D.B. reportedly fell out of the raft. Rangers recovered B.D.B.'s body from the lake ten days later. A joint investigation into the incident was begun by the park and county sheriff's department when inconsistencies were detected in T.F.'s story of the incident. Investigators also learned that B.D.B.'s spouse took out a substantial life insurance policy on him during the winter of 1993-1994. [Larry Neilson, CR, LAMR, 5/1]

Tuesday, May 16, 1995
95-220 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Drowning

On the afternoon of May 13th, B.L.P., 52, of Amarillo, was sitting on the port gunnel of a 21-foot sailboat when a gust of wind caught the sail, causing the boat to heel hard to port. B.L.P., who was not wearing a life jacket, fell overboard; although the boat's operator threw him one, B.L.P. did not see it in the foot and a half whitecaps. By the time the operator was able to lower the sail and come around on auxiliary power, B.L.P. was in serious trouble. The operator was unable to pull him on board, so he tied a rope onto B.L.P. and towed him to another boat, where he sought assistance. CPR attempts were unsuccessful. Alcohol was a contributing factor. [CR, LAMR, 5/15]

Thursday, June 8, 1995
95-279 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Multiple MVA's with Injuries

During the weekend of May 20th and 21st, rangers investigated three off-highway vehicle (OHV) accidents in the park's two OHV areas. All were single-vehicle accidents and resulted in injuries to their operators; injuries included possible paralysis, compound leg fractures, and a broken clavicle. Two of the three accidents involved the use of alcohol. Rangers also assisted state troopers on a fatal vehicle rollover accident on a state road that passes through one of the OHV sites. [CR, LAMR, 5/22]

Monday, June 12, 1995
95-288 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Assist: Tornado Damage and Injuries

Nine park employees provided assistance to the nearby community of Pampa after a large tornado struck the town on the afternoon of June 8th. The Texas Department of Public Safety requested their assistance to help search and provide security for the damaged 15-block section of the community. Two of the seven people injured in the storm received serious injuries. The tornado was one of the many twisters spawned by a storm cell that passed through northeast Texas and northwest Oklahoma. [CR, LAMR, 6/9]

Wednesday, June 21, 1995
95-316 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Near Drowning; Life Saved

Two women from Borger, Texas, were swimming in the lake near Harbor Bay campground on June 15th when one of them panicked and began to drown. Her companion attempted to get her back to shore, but had great difficulty in doing so and soon was in trouble. A camper responded by boat and brought both to shore. Superintendent Pat McCrary and ranger Bob Wilson responded, performed rescue breathing, and kept the victim breathing until an ambulance arrived. The women were part of a sizeable group of people who had been drinking heavily for several hours and proved incapable of providing effective assistance. [CR, LAMR, 6/16]

Friday, June 30, 1995
95-351 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Aircraft Crash

An ultralight aircraft crashed in a meadow in the Saddle Horse Canyon area on June 27th, seriously injuring one of its two occupants, a couple from Fritch, Texas. The park first became aware of the incident when the couple's son called on the morning of the 28th and reported them overdue from an evening flight. As preparations were being made for a search, a report was received that the woman had walked to a gravel pit operation about four miles from the park's northwest boundary and reported that her husband had been injured in the accident. He was quickly found by the crew of an Amarillo medivac helicopter and taken to a hospital, where he is being treated for spinal injuries, including a shattered T-12 vertebra. The woman told investigators that they'd landed in the meadow, but that they could not get airborne again with both on board. She stayed on the ground while her husband tried to take off to find a better spot, but instead nosed into the ground from a height of about 300 feet. [CR, LAMR, 6/29]

Friday, June 30, 1995
95-352 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Serious Injury from Dog Attack

A woman from Dumas, Texas, was walking to the toilets in the Chimney Hollow campground early on the morning of June 25th when she was attacked by another camper's pit bulldog, which was running loose at the time. Several visitors came to her aid and had to beat the dog to get it to release the woman's ankle. Particles of the victim's sock were driven deep into the tissue around her ankle, and surgery, including skin grafts, will be required. Rangers had difficulty waking the dog's owner because he was in a drunken stupor. Various charges are pending against him. When the victim's brother was leaving the campground, he saw the dog in the middle of the road and subsequently told rangers that he ran over it. The dog, however, ran off, and has not yet been found. [CR, LAMR, 6/29]

Tuesday, July 18, 1995
95-427 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Drowning

G.D.J., 18, his stepbrother, and a friend - all from Amarillo - went swimming in the lake on the morning of July 15th. G.D.J., who was trying to swim out to a "no wake" buoy, got into trouble and went under about 70 feet from shore. His companions notified a camper with a boat, but they could not find any sign of him. Park divers recovered his body about two-and-a-half hours later. Neither drugs nor alcohol were involved. [Larry Nielson, CR, LAMR]

Monday, July 31, 1995
95-472 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Rescue

Rangers received word that a man was drowning at the Stilling Basin swimming area on July 27th; when they arrived on scene, they found a visitor performing CPR on P.K., 40. The rangers assisted with CPPR and rescue breathing until paramedics arrived on scene. Witnesses said that P.K. drank two quarts of beer immediately before entering the water, and that another visitor had pulled him from the lake. P.K. was taken to a local, where he refused treatment and left against medical advice. [Mark Foust, ACR, LAMR]

Tuesday, August 1, 1995
95-477 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Rescue

Rangers received word that a man was drowning at the Stilling Basin swimming area on July 27th; when they arrived on scene, they found a visitor performing CPR on P.K., 40. The rangers assisted with CPR and rescue breathing until paramedics arrived on scene. Witnesses said that P.K. drank two quarts of beer immediately before entering the water, and that another visitor had pulled him from the lake. P.K. was taken to a local, where he refused treatment and left against medical advice. [Mark Foust, ACR, LAMR]

Tuesday, August 29, 1995
94-172 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Follow-up on Homicide

On August 10th, T.E.F., Jr., 26, pled guilty to a murder conspiracy charge in federal court in Amarillo. T.E.F. could receive life in prison for the death of his brother-in-law, Billy Dean Bratcher, but will probably receive a lesser sentence because of his substantial assistance in the case. T.E.F. has agreed to testify against his mother, B.F., and his sister, C.F.B., in future trials. All three have been charged in the murder; as part of a plea agreement, though, the prosecution agreed to dismiss this charge and an insurance fraud charge against T.E.F. Indictments still pending allege that C.B. and B.F. conspired to take out a $500,000 life insurance policy on B.D.B. and then helped plan and carry out B.D.B.'s murder. [CR, LAMR]

Thursday, September 7, 1995
94-172 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Follow-up on Homicide

On September 5th, B.F., 44, and her daughter, C.B., 23, were found guilty of all federal charges filed against them in the death of B.D.B., including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and various insurance fraud charges. The star witness in the case was T.F., who earlier had pled guilty to conspiracy to commit murder. Other charges against B.F. were dismissed on agreement that he give factual testimony against his mother and sister. All three will be sentenced in a few weeks. B.F. and C.B. could receive mandatory life sentences for their first degree murder convictions. [Larry Nielson, CR, LAMR]

Monday, December 4, 1995
94-172 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Follow-up on Homicide

On November 29th, a federal judge refused to grant a new trial to B.F. and C.B., the mother-in-law and widow of B.D.B., both of whom were convicted on charges of conspiring to murder him and on several counts of mail fraud. The two were sentenced to mandatory life terms without parole. The motion for a new trial was based on the recanted testimony of T.E.F., B.D.B.'s brother-in-law and star witness for the prosecution, who testified that he'd been offered $25,000 to kill B.D.B. and that the drowning was his idea. In denying the motion, the judge said that the jury had been aware of B.F.'s conflicting accounts, yet had found sufficient evidence to convict him. Since there was no new evidence to bring before a jury, a retrial was not warranted. [Pat McCrary, Superintendent, LAMR]

Monday, February 26, 1996
96-72 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Vandalism Arrests

During the period since the first government furlough, the park has suffered from a series of two dozen incidents of vandalism in which a total of $9,000 in damage was incurred. At 1 a.m. on February 17th, rangers discovered that a comfort station which was under video surveillance had been vandalized by five juveniles. Ranger Mark Foust spotted one of the suspects from the video in a restaurant later that evening. The subsequent investigation led to the identification of five juveniles who confessed to this and five of the most significant of the previous vandalism cases. All will likely get supervised probation and will be required to make restitution. [Dale Thompson, CR, LAMR]

Wednesday, May 22, 1996
96-222 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Possible Drowning

A.S., 24, and two other males were swimming from their boat in deep water on May 18th. The lake surface was rough and they had been drinking. The boat drifted away, and the two young women on board were unable to operate it. A jet skier helped two of the swimmers return to the boat, but A.S. disappeared. Rangers are continuing a water search and dive operations. [Dale Thompson, CR, LAMR]

Wednesday, May 29, 1996
96-222 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Follow-up on Possible Drowning

The body of A.S., 24, was found in Martin Canyon on May 25th by Coast Guard auxiliary members and subsequently recovered by rangers. A.S. was swimming in rough water on May 18th when he disappeared. The surface and underwater search for him continued all week. The investigation continues. [Dale Thompson, CR, LAMR]

Wednesday, May 29, 1996
96-237 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - Drowning

J.R., 28, of Dumas, Texas, and eight other friends were partying at their campsite in South Canyon on the evening of May 26th when he and E.A. went out to sit on a ledge about 18 feet above the lake just before midnight. Both slipped backwards over the edge and fell into the water. J.R. had been drinking and did not know how to swim; his body was found by park and police divers around 1:30 a.m. E.A. received abrasions and possible head injuries and was taken to a local hospital. [Dale Thompson, CR, LAMR]

Tuesday, July 23, 1996
96-403 - Lake Meredith (Texas) - ORV Accident with Fatality

T.R.T., 26, and J.P., 23, went riding on two ORVs on a ridge in the Rosita Flats area after dark on July 19th. They tried without success to descend a steep slope which ended in a series of drop-offs and eventually decided to return to the ridge. T.R.T. was unable get his vehicle up the slope, however, and asked J.P. to accelerate his ORV while he pushed. When the vehicle started to roll backward, J.P. jumped out, but T.R.T. and the ORV went over a series of ledges, falling about 30 feet. T.R.T. received head and internal injuries. He was flown to an area hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival. [Dale Thompson, CR, LAMR]

Tuesday, December 17, 1996
96-692 - Lake Meredith NRA (Texas) - Boating Accident with Four Deaths

R.B., a 41-year-old Amarillo dentist, and his three sons - Ph.B., 11, Pa.B., 9, and B.B., 8 - all drowned when their 14-foot boat apparently capsized on Lake Meredith around mid-day on Saturday, December 14th. R.B. and his sons were duck hunting when a passing front generated sustained winds of about 20 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph. R.B. called his wife via cell phone late that morning and told her that the winds were coming up and that they were heading for shore. When he failed to return home by 1 p.m., his wife and close family friends drove to the lake and found B.'s vehicle and boat trailer. They then drove to a ranch house about six miles away and reported them missing to district ranger Bob Wilson at 4:45 p.m. Wilson immediately dispatched a patrol boat to the area and initiated an all-out search effort. Rangers Carl Dyer and Pam Griswold located the overturned boat about 100 yards from shore just before dark. The body of Ph.B. was found floating in the lake about 20 yards from the boat. Ground searchers, dog teams and boats searched the lake and shoreline for the victims, and a state police helicopter from Lubbock joined the effort at 10:30 p.m. Search efforts were suspended at midnight due to high winds and cold temperatures. The search resumed at daylight, and the body of Dr. R.B. was found shortly thereafter. The search for the two remaining victims is continuing. [John Benjamin, Superintendent, LAMR]

Tuesday, December 17, 1996
96-693 - Lake Meredith NRA (Texas) - Assist; Officer Fatality

A compressor building at a gas plant in Fritch, Texas, was destroyed by a large explosion at 2 a.m. on Saturday, December 14th. A Moore County deputy responding to the incident suffered an apparent massive heart attack while en route. Ranger Carl Dyer was the first medically trained person on scene and initiated CPR. Despite his efforts, the deputy did not survive. [John Benjamin, Superintendent, LAMR]

Thursday, December 19, 1996
96-692 - Lake Meredith NRA (Texas) - Follow-up on Boating Accident

Search efforts continue for the bodies of the two boys still missing from the incident on Saturday in which four members of the B. family drowned when their boat capsized in high winds on the lake. Aircraft are flying the lake every day when weather permits, and air scent dog teams will be brought in when conditions improve. Temperatures have been in the teens and single digits with high winds and an inch of snow since Monday evening. The funeral for Dr. R.B. and his son P.B. will be held this afternoon. The family has asked the park to send a representative, and several employees will be attending. A critical incident stress debriefing team will be in the park tomorrow to work with those involved in the search, including park staff and personnel from the state's parks and wildlife department, the Fritch police department, and the Moore County sheriff's office. The superintendent and members of his staff met with about two dozen family members (including several children) and close friends on Tuesday and provided them with as much information as they could on what happened on the lake and what to expect from the search efforts. [Editor's note: Every year, between 700 and 800 incidents appear in the Morning Report, many of them as tragic as this one. Most protection rangers and many others among us have directly experienced such accidents and can tell similar stories, and there's a tendency to become inured to the pain and suffering they engender, particularly among the survivors. We customarily reach out to the families and friends of fellow workers who die or suffer serious medical problems or other calamities. Perhaps this is a good time to extend that compassion to others. H.B. lost her entire family in this incident; J.B. reports that she and G.H., R.B.'s sister, have been devastated by the tragedy. A note of sympathy from you might not heal, but will help. Perhaps another to the park's staff would be in order as well.] [John Benjamin, Superintendent, LAMR]

Wednesday, January 22, 1997
96-692 - Lake Meredith NRA (Texas) - Follow-up on Fatal Boating Accident

Rangers are continuing the search for the bodies of Pa.B., nine, and his brother B.B., eight. The boys, their father, R.B., and their older brother, Ph.B., 11, were killed when their 14-foot boat capsized in high winds on the lake on December 14th. Extreme cold, high winds and snow have severely curtailed efforts, but the area is being searched from shore every day regardless of weather conditions and by boat and air as the weather permits. A massive search effort on December 21st and 22nd, involving search dogs and 20 divers, yielded no new evidence. The search area remains too vast to effectively use divers, and the poor visibility, 34 degree water temperature and obstructions preclude other search methods. The park is in daily contact with H.B., the wife and mother of the victims, B.B., the father and grandfather, and J.H., Robert B.'s sister. H.B. and J.H. would like to thank all the National Park Service people who have sent them cards and letters. J.H. has passed along the following: "When the entire world seemed black and desolate in the wake of this tragedy and Helen and I were on the verge of despair as we began to realize the enormity and permanence of our loss, cards and letters began to arrive from National Park Service people from coast to coast and places we had never heard of who were reaching out to help us in our grief. The cards just kept coming; we lost count at 75 and it must be well over 100 in all. We were overwhelmed with the outpouring of sentiment. It was a miracle for us and helped immeasurably to give us the strength to face life without bob and those wonderful boys. God bless each and every one of you in the National Park Service." The park would also like to add its thanks for all those of you who took the time to write or send cc:Mail messages of support in dealing with this tragedy. The moral support was greatly appreciated. [John Benjamin, Superintendent, LAMR, 1/21]

Tuesday, March 4, 1997
96-692 - Lake Meredith NRA (Texas) - Follow-up on Fatal Boating Accident

On the afternoon of March 1st, two Texas game wardens on routine patrol discovered the body of nine-year-old Pa.B. in the lake near Dolomite Point. Pa.B., his father, R.B., and his brothers, Ph.B., eleven, and B.B., eight, drowned when their 14-foot boat capsized in high winds on the lake on December 14th. The body of B.B. has not yet been found. Following the discovery of Pa.B.'s body, an intensive search of the area was begun for B.B., utilizing SAR dog teams, aircraft, and additional boats and personnel. That search is still underway. All three of the victims found to date were wearing life jackets. [John Benjamin, Superintendent, LAMR, 3/3]

Thursday, April 10, 1997
97-149 - Lake Meredith NRA (Texas) - MVA with Fatality; Possible Suicide

V.B., 34, was killed on the evening of April 7th when his vehicle failed to negotiate a curve at the north end of Sanford Dam. V.B.'s 1988 Chevy pickup went through a guard rail and rolled several times. There were no skid marks. Texas Department of Public Safety officers are investigating the accident as a possible suicide. [Dale Thompson, CR, LAMR, 4/9]

Wednesday, April 23, 1997
96-692 - Lake Meredith NRA (Texas) - Follow-up on Fatal Boating Accident

The park continues its search for the body of eight-year-old B.B. in the upper end of Lake Meredith. Benjamin, his father, R.B., and his brothers, Ph.B., eleven, and Pa.B., nine, drowned when their 14-foot boat capsized in high winds on the lake on December 14, 1996. Yesterday was the 129th day of the search. Two search dogs from the Dallas area are being utilized. An underwater communications system has been acquired which will add a significant measure of safety and effectiveness to the dive operations by permitting control of the dive in zero visibility water from the surface. A sidescan sonar team has been requested from the Navy, but is not yet available. [John Benjamin, Superintendent, LAMR, 4/22]

Thursday, May 8, 1997
96-692 - Lake Meredith NRA (Texas) - Follow-up on Fatal Boating Accident

The body of eight-year-old B.B. was found by park employees in the Dolomite Point area of Lake Meredith yesterday morning. Benjamin, his father, R.B., and his brothers, Phillip, eleven, and Patrick, nine, drowned when their 14-foot boat capsized in high winds on the lake on December 14, 1996. The other three bodies had previously been recovered. Wednesday was the 145th day of the search. Search dogs from Panhandle SAR were used throughout the effort; also utilized were dog teams from Dallas and Illinois and a noted search dog expert from Utah. The park's dive team was assisted by divers from the Amarillo and Fritch police departments. Other air and ground units involved in the search came from the state, two counties and private organizations. Superintendent John Benjamin had this closing comment on the protracted search effort: "This has been a most difficult search for all parties involved and we are grateful to be able to bring it to a close. We extend our heartfelt thanks for a job well and bravely done to all those men and women who willingly gave their time and effort to this search." [Dale Thompson, CR, LAMR, 5/7]

Tuesday, June 24, 1997
97-287 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Serious Visitor Snake Bite

J.M. of Sinnett, Texas, was bitten by a rattlesnake on the hillside above Harbor Bay on the morning of June 7th. J.M. and a party which included four boys came across the snake while hiking on a trail. The snake did not move, even when prodded; J.M. therefore thought it was dead and picked it up by the tail to move it so it wouldn't frighten anyone else. The snake immediately struck J.M. twice in the right arm below the wrist and elbow. J.M. dropped the snake, which became aggressive and followed the group for a short distance up the slope. J.M. was taken to a hospital in nearby Borger, Texas. His arm was extremely swollen and he was experiencing a great deal of pain. Advanced life support measures were begun and he was given five vials of anti-venom; he underwent surgery the following day in which five incisions were made in his hand, wrist and elbow to drain the swelling. He remains hospitalized. [John Benjamin, Superintendent, LAMR, 6/23]

Tuesday, July 29, 1997
97-406 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Homicide

The body of an apparent homicide victim was found near the marina by three visitors just before dark on July 24th. The victim, a man in his early 30s, was unclothed and had been there for about three weeks under some brush. County officers, FBI agents and crime unit investigators from Amarillo are investigating along with rangers. Indications are that the killing was drug related. [John Benjamin, Superintendent, LAMR, 7/25]

Tuesday, January 27, 1998
98-38 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Attempted Suicide

Ranger Carl Dyer discovered J.M.W., 50, lying near the lake's edge at Harbor Bay on the afternoon of January 22nd. J.M.W. was breathing, but unconscious and unresponsive. She was flown by medevac helicopter to a hospital in Amarillo, where she is recovering from a drug overdose. J.M.W. had been reported missing by her family the day before. She recently lost her job as a mental health therapist. [Dale Thompson, CR, LAMR, 1/23]

Wednesday, April 15, 1998
98-139 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Assist; Urban Interface Wildfire

A fire broke out near Fritch, Texas, on the early afternoon on April 2nd. Driven by 60 mph winds, it burned an estimated 12,000 acres along the southern and eastern sides of the town within the next five hours. Dozens of units from the park and from 14 Panhandle communities responded in what has been called the largest mutual aid fire response ever to occur in the area. The park contributed two trucks and eight firefighters. They were able to keep the fire out of Fritch. A few small outbuildings were lost, but there were no injuries to either people or livestock. The fire burned about 200 acres of park land. As soon as the fire headed for the park, the incident commander put out word that heavy equipment could not be used without park permission and that tactics would have to change on park lands. This was the fourth major fire in the area over the course of a week. [John Benjamin, Superintendent, LAMR, 4/3]

Wednesday, June 10, 1998
98-273 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Sexual Assault Conviction

On July 27, 1997, rangers worked a reported sexual assault at Harbor Bay. The suspect, A.E., was on probation for a prior sexual assault in El Paso at the time. A.E. was involved in another incident at Harbor Bay two months' later; this time, he was beaten for attempting to sexually assault two juveniles and was dumped outside the park. When rangers and FBI agents attempted to get his parole revoked, A.E. disappeared. The FBI subsequently got a tip from his girlfriend advising that he would be arriving in Dallas on a particular flight. They arrested him when he got off the plane. A.E. appeared in court in May and pled guilty to a felony sexual misconduct charge stemming from the first incident. He is awaiting sentencing. [Dale Thompson, CR, LAMR, 5/21]

Friday, July 24, 1998
98-422 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - PWC Accident; Rescue

T.O., 32, fell from his personal water craft (PWC) while boating on the lake on July 12th. Because the ignition key was tied to his wrist, his companion, Maria Valasquez, was unable to restart the PWC after it floated away. T.O. life jacket didn't fit properly, so he had difficulty keeping his head above water. Valasquez signaled a patrol boat; rangers Carl Dyer and Pam Griswold responded and plucked T.O. from the lake. He had spent about 15 minutes in the water. [Dale Thompson, CR, LAMR, 7/17]

Thursday, July 30, 1998
98-448 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Resource Violations

Ranger Lloyd Griswold saw a pick-up truck driving in the bed of the Canadian River on July 18th, then saw four men get out of the truck and begin seining in the standing water. Griswold and Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens contacted the men and confiscated 278 fish. The driver, R.C., was charged with entering a closed area; the wardens issued state violation notices to the four men on 30 separate charges pertaining to the illegal taking of fish. [Dale Thompson, CR, LAMR, 7/29]

Wednesday, August 12, 1998
98-492 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Search; Possible Drowning

On Saturday, August 8th, two visitors independently reported seeing a man who was swimming near the buoy line below Sanford Dam disappear under the water and fail to surface. They also said that they'd seen him on the beach, and that he appeared to be despondent. The park's interagency dive team searched the lake for him on both Saturday evening and Sunday, but without luck. Investigation has not revealed any missing persons, so the search has been suspended. Ranger Mary Dyer was PIO and ranger Carl Dyer was IC. [Dale Thompson, CR, LAMR, 8/10]

Friday, December 11, 1998
98-752 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Search and Rescue

On December 6th, the park was notified that two hunters, 29-year-old D.O. and 48-year-old T.G., were overdue from a trip to the park. Their last known location was in a slough which stretches over an area measuring about two miles square and is filled with deep mud and with vegetation 14 feet high. An overflight was not possible because of low clouds. Ranger Curtis Oman was sent to a vantage point overlooking the slough and was able to locate both hunters with binoculars. The two men were about a mile apart. Rangers Lloyd Griswold and Mike Davin and fire crew members Kevin Parrish and Fred Conner reached them by boat and by wading to them in hip boots. Employees from every division assisted in the rescue, which took over 12 hours. D.O. was unable to walk when he was found and was in the initial stages of hypothermia. He was treated and released at a local hospital. Pam Griswold was IC. [CRO, LAMR, 12/9]

Wednesday, March 3, 1999
99-62 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Attempted Suicide: Life Saved

On February 28th, the park received a call from C.B., who that his wife, Merilyn, might be in the park, attempting to commit suicide. Ranger Curtis Oman found her in her vehicle near Chimney Hollow. There was a garden hose running from the vehicle's exhaust to its rear passenger window, and C.B. appeared to be in the middle stages of carbon monoxide poisoning. Oman and ranger Mike Davin provided initial medical care. C.B. was flown by helicopter to Northwest Texas Hospital, but suffered no major medical problems from the carbon monoxide. Investigation revealed that she was despondent over marital problems and that she was also a wanted felon in south Texas. [CRO, LAMR, 3/2]

Tuesday, March 9, 1999
99-70 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Special Event

The annual "Sand Drags and Mud Bog," sponsored by the West Texas Outlaws, was held just outside the Rosita Flats area of the park on the weekend of February 26th through the 28th. The sand drag is a timed-light event involving ATVs, four-by-four vehicles, stocked jeeps, home-built dune buggies, and modified and experimental vehicles. The event drew 240 entries and approximately 26,000 people; competitors came from as far away as Oregon, California, Ohio, Missouri, Oklahoma and New Mexico. About 500 people camped in the park each night. Rangers issued 17 violation notices for operating without a safety helmet, six for minors in possession of alcohol, one for DUI, and one for operating with an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle. They also made 100 verbal warnings. Two accidents occurred outside the park; both patients were flown to the hospital via helicopter. [CRO, LAMR, 3/2]

Friday, June 25, 1999
99-305 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Significant Vandalism

Some time after 2 a.m. on June 19th, vandals caused $3,000 in damage to one of the park's Outback self-composting toilets and a bulletin board. This type of toilet is near vandal-proof, but ropes were employed to remove the solid steel door, window and fixtures. The park installed 14 of these toilets last year; five have so far been targeted by vandals and remain closed. Total cost of damage to date is approximately $32,000. [Dale Thompson, CR, LAMR, 6/22]

Tuesday, June 29, 1999
99-312 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Search; Arrest

R.L., 28, was reported overdue by his family at 6:30 p.m. on June 27th. R.L. was on the lake in an inner tube; he had no life jacket and was reported to be drinking. Six agencies and about 25 people were involved in the search, which lasted three hours. R.L. was found four miles down-lake on land near his parents' house. He was walking and appeared to be disoriented when spotted by park employee Lonnie Pingree. R.L. was arrested on an outstanding warrant and transported to Amarillo. Ranger Curtis Oman was IC. The park has now gone 926 days without a drowning. [Dale Thompson, CR, LAMR, 6/28]

Thursday, July 8, 1999
99-343 - Systemwide - Fourth of July Roundup

Several parks have reported Fourth of July events or incidents:

o Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - The park employed ICS on July 3rd to manage the first fireworks program held in the area in two years. About 40,000 people attended the event, which included two bands, a barbecue, and an hour of fireworks over the lake. Sustained high winds kept the number of boaters down. Many others viewed the fireworks from outside the park. The were no major incidents, but personnel were kept busy with traffic control, two arrests for public intoxication, two EMS cases, one search for two missing boys, two wildland fires within the park boundary, two mutual aid fires, and one structural fire just outside the park. No additional resources were brought in for the event. Eighty park employees, volunteers and Public Land Corps workers were committed to the event by Lake Meredith; nine other agencies participated.

Other parks with significant Fourth of July events should send summaries for inclusion in future Morning Reports. [Sgt. Robert MacLean, USPP, NCR, 7/7; Dale Thompson, CR, LAMR, 7/6; Tony Sisto, Superintendent, FOVA, 7/7; Ed Wenschhof, CR, ANTI, 7/7]

Friday, July 16, 1999
99-380 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Rescue

Heavy rains fell on the southwest portion of the park on the evening of July 9th, causing flash flooding. Ranger Ryan Parr responded to reports of stuck and stranded vehicles in the Alibates Canyon area. While en route, Parr drove over a low water crossing that had only a few inches of water passing through it. The next crossing, however, proved impassable. By the time Parr got back to the first crossing, the water had risen to the Bronco's hubcaps. The vehicle stalled as he crossed, and the water continued to rise. Rangers Lloyd Griswold, Patsy Sims and Mike Smith responded along with a local fire chief. The Bronco was washed 200 yards down the creek and water rose above its hood. Throw bags and climbing rope were used to rescue Parr from the roof of his tipping vehicle. The stranded family and vehicles were later found in nearby McBride Canyon. They were stuck but okay. [Dale Thompson, CR, LAMR, 7/13]

Wednesday, August 18, 1999
99-468 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Search

On the evening of Monday, August 9th, J.B., 43, was reported overdue from a two-day canoe trip on the Canadian River. A hasty search that evening turned up no evidence; on the following morning, 40 searchers from seven agencies combed thick, overgrown river bottoms and side canyons using dogs, horses, boats, a canoe, trackers, airplanes and helicopters. J.B.'s canoe was found undamaged with his gear intact where the river enters Lake Meredith. His 140-pound rottweiler, "C.," was found ten miles upstream, pacing the shoreline. As search efforts were ending for the day, local boaters who were water skiing in a remote area of the lake spotted and picked up J.B. from the lake's shoreline. J.B. reported that he'd abandoned his canoe in shallow water, then crossed swamps and open water at night using the park's repeater tower as a landmark. He could see the helicopters, but was unable to get their attention. J.B. was okay, but tired, hungry and thirsty. The park's record of no recreational fatalities has now reached 970 days. [John Benjamin, Superintendent, LAMR, 8/11]

Tuesday, March 14, 2000
00-092 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Assist; Search, Helicopter Crash

Park staff assisted in the search for a missing Lifestar rescue helicopter on March 10th. The helicopter was returning to Amarillo from a flight to Boise City, Oklahoma, to pickup a four-month-old baby with respiratory problems when it went down in heavy fog. The wreckage of the helicopter was found 20 miles north of Dalhart, Texas; the pilot, flight nurse, paramedic and baby were killed in the crash. The park works closely with Lifestar on rescues; ranger Mike Smith's spouse is a Lifestar nurse, though she was not on the flight that crashed. [LAMR, 3/10]

Wednesday, April 26, 2000
00-163 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Boat Fire; Rescue

On the afternoon of April 13th, David and Lorna Kirby were approaching the Fritch Fortress boat ramp in their 16-foot boat when they developed engine trouble. D.K. removed a flexible fuel line, spilling a small amount of gasoline; a copper fuel line then accidentally touched the starter assembly, causing a spark that ignited the spilled fuel. The fiberglass boat was quickly engulfed in flames. The Kirbys made a futile attempt to douse the flames with an extinguisher, then quickly donned their lifejackets, threw their two dogs into the lake, and abandoned ship. Other boaters, including off-duty ranger Lloyd Griswold, rescued the K.s and their dogs. Ranger Carl Dyer and firefighter Terry Rhoten arrived ten minutes later and put out the fire with the built-in fire pump in the park's new 27-foot Boston Whaler. The hulk, which burned to the waterline, was towed to shallow water and later removed from the lake. The Kirbys credit their safety awareness and survival to NPS, state park and USCG education and enforcement efforts. They have donated their boat to the park for use as a safety exhibit. Lake Meredith's record of 1,222 days without a fatality continues. [John Benjamin, Superintendent, LAMR, 4/20]

Wednesday, May 31, 2000
00-235 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Drowning

On the evening of May 18th, J.F., 15, of Amarillo, was visiting Stilling Basin below the Sanford Dam with his older sister, brother and other family members. Since he suffered from Down's Syndrome, his family kept him out of the water. J.F.'s sister left to get him a sandwich; when she returned less than a minute later, he was gone. The family searched for him in the crowded day use area for over an hour before notifying the park. A search was begun with ranger Mary Dyer as IC. It went on for 13 hours and eventually involved 60 people from agencies in the surrounding communities. Two aircraft also flew over the search area. Infrared and night vision equipment assisted ground searchers, who walked the swamps with flashlights through the night. A helicopter observer spotted the boy's body in the lake at 8 a.m. the following morning. He was in nine feet of water. The F. family thanked the park's staff for all its efforts. This is the first fatality in the park in 1,260 days. There were 98 fatalities in the park during it's first 32 years of existence. [John Benjamin, Superintendent, LAMR, 5/29]

Sunday, July 23, 2000
00-424 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Drug Laboratory

While investigating a flint collecting case on July 14th, ranger Scott Darrah encountered D.F. and D.O. in the Plum Creek area of the park. They had in their possession items normally associated with operation of illegal drug labs, including muratic acid, ephedrine, syringes, anti-freeze, and paint thinner. Rangers Carl Dyer and Mike Smith and local drug task force and DEA personnel from Amarillo responded and investigated further. An environmental cleanup firm from Oklahoma City was called in to remove all the hazardous materials. D.F. and D.O. were arrested and charged with manufacturing, delivering and selling a controlled substance. [Pam Griswold, Acting DR, LAMR, 7/21]

Monday, September 11, 2000
00-572 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Gas Pipeline Fire

On the morning of Saturday, September 2nd, a park neighbor reported that there was a gas-fed fire shooting flames into the air in the Sanford area of the park. Chief ranger Bill Briggs was the only NPS person in the vicinity. He and members of an engine crew from the Fritch Fire Department were able to shut down the ruptured pipe and put the fire out within 30 minutes. In spite of the intense heat of the burning gas and extreme fire conditions, only a few square yards around the well burned. The well is located in a 6,500-acre unit that was burned in April and park of the park's prescribed fire program. The reduction of fuel is what kept the well fire spreading into a major conflagration that would have threatened homes, ranches, wells, tank batteries, and businesses. There are 175 active oil and gas wells within the park. [Bill Briggs, CR, LAMR, 9/5]

Monday, February 26, 2001
01-064 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Search in Progress

On the morning of February 22nd, a multi-agency search was begun in the park for a helicopter missing since February 15th. G.W. and B.W. of Amarillo had visited their daughter in Gruver and were returning home when their helicopter disappeared. Three reliable reports placed it in the vicinity of the park around 10 p.m. It's believed that fog and rain may have caused the W.s to turn back. The search is being conducted on land and water and in the air and was expected to continue through the weekend. [Rhonda Terry, PIO, LAMR, 2/23]

Thursday, March 8, 2001
01-083 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Possible Suicide

A body was found in the upper camping area of Plum Creek on the morning of March 7th. A missing person report had been filed with Amarillo PD for a resident of that city the previous day. One of the man's relatives asked the Moore County Sheriff's Office to check for him in the Plum Creek area. He was found inside his pickup truck with a single gunshot wound to the head. Suicide is suspected. The investigation has been turned over to the Potter County Sheriff's Office. [Rhonda Terry, PIO, LAMR, 3/7]

Thursday, April 26, 2001
01-170 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Public Health Hazard

Earlier this month, rangers noticed that the only known prairie dog town within the park had disappeared. Personnel from the Texas Department of Health came to the park and took flea samples from the burrows, which were near the Sanford-Yake Campground. The first screening of six flea samples was sent to the Centers for Disease Control in Fort Collins, Colorado. Plague-causing pathogens were found in one of the six samples. Detailed laboratory testing is currently underway to confirm the results of the first screening, but will not be available for several days. A doctor from the Texas Department of Health and ranger/environmental protection specialist Paul Eubank will visit all campgrounds and public areas in the park to determine if plague is anywhere else within Lake Meredith. The park's annual lakeshore cleanup, which involves over 1500 volunteers and is scheduled for this weekend, has been postponed. The park is making arrangements to have the burrows of the prairie dog town dusted to eliminate fleas. The Sanford-Yake Campground will remain closed for about two months. Media attention has been high. [John Benjamin, Superintendent, LAMR, 4/25]

Sunday, May 27, 2001
01-170 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Follow-up: Public Health Hazard

On April 18th, the park closed the Sanford-Yake campground due to the detection of plague-causing pathogens in a flea sample taken from a burrow in a nearby prairie dog town. The insecticide "Delta Dust" was subsequently applied to the burrows. A sampling taken on May 23rd confirmed that the insecticide had killed off all remaining fleas. The campground was accordingly reopened in time for Memorial Day weekend. [Rhonda Terry, PIO, LAMR, 5/25]

Wednesday, June 6, 2001
01-251 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Rescue

A 911 call reporting a swimmer in distress at Spring Canyon came in around 7 p.m. on June 2nd. NPS, Fritch EMS, and Hutchinson County Sheriff's Office personnel responded. Rangers arrived on scene first and found that A.M., 24, of Amarillo, had been pulled from the water by park visitors. She was unconscious but breathing. Rangers maintained her airway and provided additional medical support until she was transported to a hospital in Borger. A.M. was released form the hospital that night. She told rangers that she was attempting to assist two young teenage males who were having difficulty swimming when she got herself into trouble. A head count of the beach was conducted and it was determined that the boys were safe and that all parties were accounted for. [Rhonda Terry, PIO, LAMR, 6/5]

Tuesday, June 19, 2001
01-283 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Serious Employee Injury

Chief of maintenance L.P. and his wife S.P. were returning from Amarillo on the afternoon of Saturday, June 16th, when a Jeep traveling in the opposite direction crossed the road and hit their own Jeep head-on. S.P. suffered a concussion and numerous abrasions, cuts and contusions. She was airlifted to a hospital along with the other driver, who suffered serious leg injuries. L.P.'s left foot was severely damaged and he was trapped for almost an hour in their overturned Jeep. He underwent surgery late on Saturday night and will have to endure additional operations and a long recovery due to his shattered heel. Both will soon be released from the hospital. L.P. and S.P. said that their seatbelts saved their lives, not their Jeep's airbags. Both Jeeps were totally destroyed, as were the Pingree's two Harley-Davidson motorcycles, which they were towing on a trailer. The accident occurred because the driver of the other Jeep was reaching for something on the vehicle's floor and lost control. Get well wishes may be sent to L.P. and S.P. [John Benjamin, Superintendent, LAMR, 6/18]

Wednesday, January 2, 2002
01-648 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Methamphetamine Lab

On the afternoon of December 20th, ranger Tyler Stevenson came upon a car which appeared to be stuck in the river bottom at the Rosita off-road area. Stevenson found that the driver did not have a license. While talking with him, Stevenson noted a pile of peeled lithium batteries, a tank with a hose attached, and the smell of anhydrous ammonia and starter fluid in the air. He realized that the driver and his two companions were manufacturing methamphetamine, so separated them, moved them away from the vehicle, and called for backup. The nearest ranger was an hour away, and the closest sheriff's department officer was a half hour from him. While awaiting their arrival, one of the men and a woman ran to the vehicle and started to drive off. Stevenson tried to stop them by reaching in and turning off the cars ignition. The male driver grabbed his arm and accelerated away, knocking Stevenson to the ground. The third person remained at the scene and was arrested without incident. The regional drug task force was summoned and the lab was processed for evidence. The hazardous by-products were removed by a DEA contractor. Further investigation led to the identification of the two people who had fled. The person who was arrested was charged with possession of the chemical elements needed to manufacture methamphetamine and will be charged with manufacturing same; warrants are being sought for the man and woman for assault, resisting arrest, and manufacturing of methamphetamine. [Dennis Weiland, CR, LAMR, 12/21]

Tuesday, March 5, 2002
02-046 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Special Event: Annual ORV Races

Visitation, traffic and associated incidents increased during the weekend of February 23rd due to the holding of the annual "Sand Drags" off-road event just outside the park in the bed of the Canadian River. This event attracts thousands of participants from neighboring states, including Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. There was a dramatic increase in the number of campers and recreational enthusiasts in the Rosita area of the park. Six NPS rangers and three Texas ABC officers issued hundreds of safety warnings and handled over 150 incidents during the two-day event. Violations were mainly alcohol-related, and included 70 incidents of minors in possession, 25 of open containers, 15 helmet violations, seven DUI arrests, and one warrant arrest. One person with possible head and spinal injuries was medevaced by Lifestar to an Amarillo area hospital. [Rhonda Terry, PIO, LAMR, 2/27]

Wednesday, March 13, 2002
02-059 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Methamphetamine Lab; Wildland Fire

On the evening of March 5th, park firefighters responded to a wildland fire in the Blue Creek area of the park. Fire conditions for that day were extreme, with a red flag warning issued for the entire Panhandle region of Texas. The fire was contained to three acres. While conducting mop-up operations the following day, the source of the fire was found - a methamphetamine lab. Rangers contacted the Panhandle regional narcotics task force for assistance in cleaning up the site. Task force members determined that all hazardous chemicals were consumed in the fire, and found remnants of the lab, including peeled batteries, glassware, starting fluid, and salt. The fire was probably ignited by an explosion that occurred during the cooking process. Evidence was gathered, but there are no suspects in the case at this time. The Texas Panhandle, including Lake Meredith NRA, has seen a dramatic increase in methamphetamine production and use during the past few years. [Rhonda Terry, PIO, LAMR, 3/12]

Tuesday, April 16, 2002
02-108 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Shooting Incident

At 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, April 14th, rangers were dispatched to a reported shooting in the McBride area of the park. Upon arrival, they found that the victim, 54-year-old P.B. of Amarillo, Texas, was suffering from a rifle wound to the abdomen. P.B. was treated by park EMTs and transported by medical helicopter to the Amarillo Trauma Center at Northwest Texas Hospital. The shooter was identified as a 16-year-old male from the local community. The investigation is being handled jointly by the National Park Service, the Potter County Sheriff's Office, and Texas Parks and Wildlife. Preliminary information indicates that the juvenile, while turkey hunting, took an 80-yard shot at what he believed was a turkey, but in fact was P.B., who was also hunting and was in full camouflage clothing. Conditions at the scene included game in the area, morning fog and brushy vegetation. The shooting is believed to have been accidental. [Bill Briggs, CR, LAMR, 4/15]

Tuesday, May 7, 2002
02-154 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Rescue

Several rangers were dispatched to the Blue West campground on the evening of May 5th to rescue a young girl who had fallen into a nearby canyon. The rangers found that 11-year-old M.R. of Cactus, Texas, had fallen down a steep slope and was suffering from several leg injuries and a dislocated knee. Bystanders had carried the girl partway up the steep and brushy bluff before rangers arrived. The rangers and local EMS personnel immobilized her and carried her up the remaining slope to a waiting helicopter that had responded from the regional trauma center in Amarillo. [Bill Briggs, CR, LAMR, 5/6]

Thursday, May 30, 2002
02-190 - Lake Meredith NRA (TX) - Rescue

The park was notified of a rescue underway near the riprap well in Cedar Canyon on the afternoon of May 21st. Two rangers and the chief of police from the town of Fritch responded. A 14-foot Skeeter bass boat with two fishermen aboard had sunk after its engine quite and it began taking on water. Winds at the time were gusting between 28 and 35 mph and the water temperature was 52 degrees. The two men had attempted to employ a drift sock to bring the bow of the boat into the wind, but the effort proved fruitless and it sank in 50 feet of water 200 yards from shore. A Texas Parks and Wildlife warden had helped rescue one man, and a fisherman had helped the other to shore. One of the men was wearing a life jacket but did not have it zipped and lost it soon after capsizing; he stayed afloat with a cushion thrown to him by his companion. He was suffering from hypothermia and shock and was taken to Golden Plains Hospital, where he was treated and released. [Rhonda Terry, PIO, LAMR, 5/24]

Tuesday, February 11, 2003
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (TX)
Conviction for Assaulting Ranger

Ranger Tyler Stevenson was investigating three suspicious people in the Rosita off-road area on December 20, 2001 when he discovered that they were manufacturing methamphetamine. Stevenson had all three under control with verbal commands while awaiting arrival of backup (30 minutes away). When Stevenson reached down to answer a radio call, though, they jumped into their nearby vehicle. Stevenson tried to get to the driver, but was knocked to the ground by the car door. The two men fled, but were subsequently identified and arrested on state charges for assaulting a public servant and fleeing. On January 30, the driver, L.S. of Amarillo, was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison for his actions.
[Submitted by Bill Briggs, Chief Ranger]

Tuesday, February 11, 2003
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (TX)
Drug Conviction

On February 21, 2002, rangers Curtis Oman, Paul Eubank and Dennis Weiland were dispatched to the concession fish house to investigate a complaint of illegal drug use. They found four people under the influence of a controlled substance and in possession of drug paraphernalia. They also received a report that one of the foursome had been seen giving drugs to the other three. Investigation revealed that he had four grams of methamphetamine in his possession. All four were arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance; one, R.H. of Fritch, was also arrested on state charges of possession of methamphetamine for distribution. On February 5, Fritch was sentenced to seven years in prison.
[Submitted by Bill Briggs, Chief Ranger]

Wednesday, March 05, 2003
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (TX)
Trespass and Security Violations

On the morning of February 13th, rangers Dennis Weiland and Bill Briggs saw six young men near the spillways from Sanford Dam. All were dressed in black, with black-colored skateboards, trick bicycles and personal backpacks. They were apprehended inside the dam's secure area. Follow-up investigation revealed that five of them were over 18 and lived in New Jersey, Florida and Texas; the sixth was 16 and from New Jersey. They had met in an internet chat room for skateboarders. They'd read about the dam's spillways in several publications and on several web sites, and told the rangers that the chat rooms were very explicit about how to avoid security patrols, best points of entry, and means for entering the area (e.g., using blankets over barbed wire fences). They said that they'd entered the secured area between 4 and 5 a.m. because they had heard that it was under video surveillance. Citations were issued for trespassing in a secured area. This is the third such incident in the last year. Additional security measures are being put into effect.
[Submitted by Bill Briggs, Chief Ranger]

Thursday, March 06, 2003
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (TX)
Methamphetamine Lab Arrests

Ranger Pam Griswold came upon a suspicious vehicle in the Chimney Hollow campground on the afternoon of February 16th; when she contacted the occupants, a man and woman, she smelled a strong odor of ether and found evidence that they were involved in the manufacture of methamphetamine. The two were arrested without incident. The regional drug task force processed the scene for evidence and a disposal contractor was brought in from Oklahoma City. Initial interviews revealed that the pair were acquainted with three other known drug manufacturers who've recently been arrested by the task force, and that they were known to local officers as drug users. The pair said that they'd previously manufactured drugs no park lands and on nearby private properties. They will be arraigned in state court for possession of ingredients for manufacturing methamphetamine and for possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
[Submitted by Bill Briggs, Chief Ranger]

Tuesday, May 20, 2003
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (TX)
Motor Vehicle Accident; Presumed Suicide

The Borger Police Department received a 911 call reporting an accident in the Sanford-Yake parking area in the park just after 11 p.m. on May 16th. Rangers, Fritch EMS personnel and Fritch FD firefighters responded and found a mini-van with one person inside on the shore of the lake. The driver, a woman from Borger, was extricated from the van and taken by boat to the Sanford-Yake boat ramp, then flown to Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo. She succumbed to her injuries while at the hospital on May 18th. Investigation revealed no skid marks at the point where the vehicle left the road, and that the van had been traveling at a high rate of speed before becoming airborne and impacting at the bottom of a 200-foot cliff. Alcohol is thought to have been a factor.
[Submitted by Rhonda Terry, PIO]

Thursday, July 03, 2003
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (TX)
Employee Bitten by Rattler

Garrett Farmer, a member of the park's fire crew, was bitten by a six-foot rattlesnake while relocating it from the park's maintenance yard on the morning of July 1st. Maintenance workers discovered the snake while getting floats to repair a fishing dock. Members of the fire crew put the snake into a metal trash can for transportation and relocation. The snake attempted to escape from the can, and Farmer was bitten on the web of his left hand while trying to secure it. He was treated by park EMT's, taken to the ambulance bay in Fritch, then transported to Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo, where he underwent surgery.
[Submitted by Rhonda Terry, PIO]

Thursday, July 03, 2003
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (TX)
Rescue of Climber Injured in Fall

On the morning of June 29th, T.J., 23, of Grand Junction, Colorado, was solo climbing a particularly difficult route on Independence Monument, the park's most climbed spire, when his protection failed and he fell about 40 feet, suffering numerous contusions, lacerations and possible fractures. His cries for help were heard by nearby hikers, one of whom called 911 by cell phone. Ranger Bill Rodgers and members of both Lower Valley FD and Grand Junction FD responded. Paramedics stabilized T.J. and he was airlifted to St. Mary's Hospital, where doctors determined that he had a fractured spine in addition to his other injuries.
[Submitted by Ron Young, Chief Ranger]

Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (TX)
Boating Accident

Park dispatch received a 911 call around 4:45 a.m. on July 13th reporting an overdue boater who should have been home three hours earlier. Rangers were notified of the problem and were on the water by 5:10 a.m. Their initial search was unproductive, but they found the missing boat on their second pass. It was located well up on shore from the lake. According to operator J.B. and passenger R.B., the two men were en route to Bugbee Canyon just after midnight when they developed steering problems. They said that they became disoriented and while operating at full throttle ran aground at the west end of the lake. The boat went through approximately 300 feet of mud before coming to rest on the dry beach 100 yards from the water's edge. Neither was injured. Staff from the marina coordinated the boat's removal. The park's small flat-bottomed boat with Mud Buddy engine was utilized and proved to be effective to within 10 feet of the dry beach. Over 1200 feet of rope was used to tow the boat back into the water. Recovery was completed later in the afternoon.
[Submitted by Bill Briggs, Chief Ranger]

Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (TX)
Flashfloods Cause Serious Road Damage

Two large storm cells which passed over the park late on the evening of Friday, June 18th, produced massive amounts of rain, hail and some tornadoes. The runoff produced flashfloods, which in turn inflicted severe damage to the road to the Bugbee Shores camping and recreation area. Large portions of the road shoulder were eroded away, making it impassible and hazardous to visitors. The road was closed until repairs could be made.
[Submitted by Beth Kolb, Park Ranger]

Friday, February 25, 2005
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (TX)
Illegal Immigrant Smuggling Arrests

On February 14th, rangers Brandon Dunham and Walter Duran stopped a vehicle for speeding in the park. The operator was a Mexican national with neither a valid driver's license nor any proof that he owned the Chrysler mini-van that he was driving. Two other Mexican nationals were in the van; both were subsequently identified as undocumented aliens. The follow-up investigation revealed that the driver was transporting the two illegal immigrants through the United States for money. There was also reason to suspect he was carrying narcotics. A search conducted by the local city canine unit revealed that there were drugs in the van's left rear quarter panel. With probable cause and the consent of the operator, the dog searched inside the van and again alerted on the left rear quarter. The vehicle was searched, but no contraband was found. The driver was arrested by Texas Department of Public Safety officers for a class A misdemeanor due to being a flight risk. He was later transferred to the United States Border Patrol for further charges.
[Submitted by Paul Jones, Park Ranger]

Wednesday, January 4, 2006
Lake Meredith NRA
Arrest for Methamphetamine Manufacture

On the morning of December 31st, a land surveyor advised a ranger that he'd seen a man acting suspiciously in the Spring Canyon area. He was reportedly seen throwing items from his vehicle and carrying several ice chests into the tall river grass. When he saw the surveyor, he fled in his vehicle down a dirt road until he ran into locked gate, at which point he abandoned it and took off on foot into a nearby canyon. When the ranger arrived, he found a still operating methamphetamine lab, the man's vehicle, and indications of his direction of travel. A Fritch PD officer and two Hutchinson County officers soon arrived on scene to provide assistance. Items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine were found in the vehicle. The county officers found the 19-year-old suspect just outside the park and detained him for further investigation. He was positively identified, placed in custody, and taken to the county jail. He's been charged with the manufacture of a controlled substance, possession of chemicals with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, and possession of a controlled substance. The estimated total weight of the methamphetamines he produced came to 400 grams. A second arrest is pending. [Dane Tantay, Chief Ranger]

Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (TX)
Arrest for Methamphetamine Manufacture

On the morning of December 31st, a land surveyor advised a ranger that he'd seen a man acting suspiciously in the Spring Canyon area. He was reportedly seen throwing items from his vehicle and carrying several ice chests into the tall river grass. When he saw the surveyor, he fled in his vehicle down a dirt road until he ran into locked gate, at which point he abandoned it and took off on foot into a nearby canyon. When the ranger arrived, he found a still operating methamphetamine lab, the man?s vehicle, and indications of his direction of travel. A Fritch PD officer and two Hutchinson County officers soon arrived on scene to provide assistance. Items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine were found in the vehicle. The county officers found the 19-year-old suspect just outside the park and detained him for further investigation. He was positively identified, placed in custody, and taken to the county jail. He's been charged with the manufacture of a controlled substance, possession of chemicals with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, and possession of a controlled substance. The estimated total weight of the methamphetamines he produced came to 400 grams. A second arrest is pending.

[Submitted by Dane Tantay, Chief Ranger]

Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Lake Meredith NRA
Special Event: Amarillo Sand Drags

The park hosted the 34th annual Amarillo Sand Drags, an event for off-road vehicle enthusiasts, over the period from Friday, February 23rd, to Sunday, February 25th. Agents from the Amarillo District Office of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens, and BLM rangers assisted park rangers in management of the event, held in the Rosita Flats area bordering the Canadian River. The event is on both federal and state lands, mandating a federal-state partnership in enforcing laws. During the event, organized each year by the West Texas Outlaws Off-Road Club, ORV and ATV riders descend on the Canadian River bottom for fun in the sand and river waters. As with any event of this nature, alcoholic beverages were readily available and violations common. About 25,000 people attended this year's gathering. While the crowds were large, most of the participants were well-behaved and manageable. There were no major incidents and only one medical emergency requiring a medevac flight. [Dane Tantay, Chief Ranger]


Thursday, June 21, 2007
Lake Meredith NRA
Drowning In Spring Canyon

On the afternoon of Sunday, June 10th, Borger Dispatch received a 911 call reporting that a 19-year-old man had been swimming in Spring Canyon and had evidently drowned. Ranger Stephen Williams was first on scene and was soon joined by two members of the Lake Meredith interagency dive team, supervisory ranger Paul Jones and a Texas Parks and Wildlife game warden. The divers soon found the man's body. Fritch EMS was on scene and attempted to revive him, but without success. [Dane Tantay, Chief Ranger]

Monday, July 30, 2007
Lake Meredith NRA
Rescuers Save Woman From Drowning

Ranger Beth Kolb and personnel from other agencies responded to a report of a possible drowning at Harbor Bay at noon on Saturday, July 21st. A 19-year-old woman and two young boys were out on the lake in a rubber raft when winds swept them away from the shoreline. When the raft was about 150 feet out, the woman decided to jump out and swim to shore for help, but began struggling en route and went underwater. A local fisherman entered the lake and went to her aid, but became tired trying to keep her from drowning. A visitor from Amarillo who had just launched his boat on the other side of the cove heard the fisherman calling for help and immediately went to their location, pulling them into the boat. The woman began to expel water when she was brought aboard. The woman's rescuers were able to revive her before reaching the Harbor Bay boat ramp. Once there, Kolb administered oxygen. The woman was treated by Fritch EMS and taken to Golden Plains Community Hospital in Borger. Although found to be in good condition, she was kept in the hospital overnight for observation, then released on Monday. The initial heroic rescue effort by the fisherman provided the opportunity for the boaters to respond in time, thereby averting a possible tragedy. [Dante Tantay, Chief Ranger]

Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Lake Meredith NRA
Taser Employed At Annual Sand Drags

During the weekend of February 22 - 24, an annual off-road vehicle event called the "Sand Drags" took place adjacent to Lake Meredith. The event attracted over 8,000 ORV enthusiasts to the Rosita Flats area of the park. During one of the many alcohol violations rangers encountered during the event, a man attempted to evade rangers by running away. After a brief chase, he was taken down with a taser and quickly placed in custody without further incident of injury to himself or to rangers. This was the first time a taser has been used at the park since the program went into effect in October, 2006. [Paul Jones, Park Ranger]

Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Lake Meredith NRA
Long-Missing Aircraft Found In Lake

On May 30th, two teenagers canoeing on Lake Meredith discovered the tail section and part of an aircraft fuselage protruding from the water near Harbor Bay. The lake level has fallen significantly over the past few years, which led to the wreckage being revealed. Rangers were notified. They checked the tail number against records and found that the plane was a Beechcraft Skipper 77 that had been reported overdue on January 27, 1984. There were two people onboard the plane at the time. A fisherman found an aircraft wheel floating on the lake the day after the Beechcraft disappeared, but an extensive search of the lake proved fruitless. Rangers secured the area after last week's discovery and began an investigation. A relative of the plane's pilot has been notified, as have the NTSB and FAA. Investigators from those agencies and representatives from the manufacturers of both the plane and engine are expected on-site this week to complete the investigation and remove the wreckage. [Cindy Ott-Jones, Superintendent]

Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Lake Meredith NRA
Long-Missing Aircraft Found In Lake

On May 30th, two teenagers canoeing on Lake Meredith discovered the tail section and part of an aircraft fuselage protruding from the water near Harbor Bay. The lake level has fallen significantly over the past few years, which led to the wreckage being revealed. Rangers were notified. They checked the tail number against records and found that the plane was a Beechcraft Skipper 77 that had been reported overdue on January 27, 1984. There were two people onboard the plane at the time. A fisherman found an aircraft wheel floating on the lake the day after the Beechcraft disappeared, but an extensive search of the lake proved fruitless. Rangers secured the area after last week's discovery and began an investigation. A relative of the plane's pilot has been notified, as have the NTSB and FAA. Investigators from those agencies and representatives from the manufacturers of both the plane and engine are expected on-site this week to complete the investigation and remove the wreckage. [Cindy Ott-Jones, Superintendent]

Monday, February 23, 2009
Lake Meredith NRA
Man Commits Suicide By Hanging

On the afternoon of February 17th, rangers were off-duty, preparing for a workout, when they heard local radio traffic concerning a possible suicide in or near Rosita Flats, which is in the west end of the park. Potter County Sheriff's Department officers responded and secured the scene and were subsequently joined by ranger Jake Olson. They found that a 28-year-old Amarillo man had hung himself from a tree. A woman who was with him said that he'd gotten out of their vehicle, climbed a tree, tied a strap around it and his neck, them jumped. The county is leading the investigation. A suicide note was found, and the coroner subsequently confirmed that cause of death was consistent with a hanging. A blood test came back positive for several drugs, including methamphetamine and cocaine. [Paul D. Jones Chief Ranger]

Thursday, July 9, 2009
Lake Meredith NRA
Multiple Arrests On Drug And Alcohol Charges

Rangers James Littlejohn and Ben Henthorne were patrolling the Blue Creek ORV area just after midnight on June 27th when they came upon a group of ten to fifteen people with a large amount of litter at their site. As the rangers were talking to them, several fled on foot. Henthorne detained the members of the main group while Littlejohn pursued the others. Littlejohn caught two of them and found that one had powder cocaine in his possession. He then had to use his taser on one person who resisted arrest. A total of three people were arrested for a variety of offenses, including possession of cocaine, resisting arrest, evading arrest, furnishing alcohol to minors, minor consumption of alcohol, and public intoxication. Rangers Sarah Bouska and Jake Olson assisted with the arrest and processing of the scene. [Paul Jones, Chief Ranger]

Friday, September 4, 2009
Lake Meredith NRA
Man Assaulted And Robbed At Park Marina

A man was assaulted in the parking lot of the Sanford-Yake Marina at Lake Meredith on the morning of Saturday, August 29th. He was beaten and robbed of both his wallet and his vehicle. The man was airlifted from the park and flown to an Amarillo hospital for treatment. His four assailants have been identified, and it's believed that the victim knew three of them. Although the primary motive for the attack was robbery, other motives are being investigated.

At present, two of the four are being held in the Potter County Detention Center, the third is out on bail, and the fourth is not yet in custody. The National Park Service, the Hutchinson County Sheriff's Office, the Borger Police Department, the Amarillo Police Department, and the Potter County Sheriff's Office are cooperating in this investigation. The Hutchinson County District Attorney's Office is reviewing the case before presenting it to a grand jury. [Rozanna Pfeiffer, Public Affairs Officer]

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Lake Meredith NRA
Rangers Deal With Major Annual Gathering

During the weekend of February 25th, the 38th Annual Canadian River Mud Bogs took place on adjacent state lands just outside of the park's Rosita Flats OHV area, one of two designated off-road areas within Lake Meredith NRA. This event draws close to 14,000 people annually, with a large number of them recreating in Rosita Flats. This year, the park stepped up law enforcement in an effort to decrease visitor injuries during the event. As a result, only two visitors were transported to the hospital after a rollover accident. A total of 95 class C citations were issued during the weekend, the majority of them alcohol offenses. There were also numerous Class B charges for possession of marijuana and one felony charge for possession of cocaine. Rangers also dealt with a domestic assault and a 10-acre wildfire that damaged a fifth wheel recreational vehicle. NPS rangers were assisted by two BLM rangers and the park's fire staff, whose quick actions prevented the spread of the fast moving wildfire on a day that saw over 75,000 acres burned within the surrounding area. [Dale Culver, Operations Chief]

Thursday, June 9, 2011
Lake Meredith NRA
Seven-Year-Old Girl Rescued After Falling Off Raft

On the evening of June 6th, ranger Brandon Dunham received a call from a local police dispatcher regarding a seven-year-old girl was floating away from shore on an air mattress near Fritch Fortress. The Fritch police chief also heard the call and responded. When he arrived, he found the parents frantic, as the wind had pushed the girl further out into the lake. Dunham drove to the ranger station and hauled a patrol boat down to the Sanford Yake boat ramp, presently the park's only functioning ramp. The chief advised Dunham that the girl had fallen off the air mattress and added that he was having trouble spotting her in the high waves. Dunham headed to the last point where he'd seen her and found the girl on her back, treading water, just as she had learned to do when she took swimming lesions last summer. She was very cold and exhausted from treading water in the waves. Dunham took her to the awaiting ambulance at Fritch Fortress, where she was checked out by paramedics and released to her parents. [Paul Jones, Chief Ranger]

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Lake Meredith NRA
Numerous Citations Issued At Mud Bogging Event

During the weekend of February 24th, the annual Canadian River Mud Bog took place on adjacent state lands just outside of the Rosita Flats ORV area, one of two designated off-road areas within Lake Meredith NRA ( HYPERLINK "" mud bogging is an off-road event in which drivers attempt to navigate a pit of deep mud). This event normally draws close to 14,000 people annually, with a large number of them recreating in the ORV area, but this year saw a drop in attendance. As in prior years, Lake Meredith enhanced it law enforcement operation during this event, resulting in the issuance of a total of 57 citations over the weekend, the majority of them for alcohol offences. Along with these were numerous charges for possession of marijuana and one arrest for purchasing alcohol for minors. Rangers also dealt with two medical calls within the park and on adjacent state land. Two rangers from Chickasaw National Recreation Area, including K9 handler Kane Seitz and his dog "Boomer," assisted Lake Meredith staff. Boomer's presence and abilities led to the park recording the largest number of drug possession cases it's ever made during this event. Rangers were also assisted by two BLM rangers and the park's fire staff, who patrolled the ORV area in weather conditions similar to last year's event, which saw over 750,000 acres burned in the surrounding area. For a YouTube video showing this year's mud bogging event, click on HYPERLINK "" this link. [Dale Culver, Operations Chief]

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Lake Meredith NRA
ATV Rider Survives Accident In Park ORV Area

On Saturday, May 12th, emergency responders were called to the Rosita Flats off-road vehicle area for an ATV rollover. The operator, a 15-year-old boy, was described as unconscious and unresponsive. He was trying to jump a small hill in the ORV area but was going too fast, causing the ATV to vault upon landing and throwing him about 40 feet. Potter County deputies were first on scene; they were soon joined by Potter County Fire and Amarillo Emergency Medical Services personnel. Basic life support measures were administered and a Life Star medical helicopter was ordered. The boy was flown to an area hospital. A ranger arrived on scene nearly 40 minutes after the initial call due to the long drive and began an investigation. The boy was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, which saved his life. A follow-up with his parents revealed that he was in good health and ready to get back on his ATV. [Peter Zahrt, Park Ranger]

Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Lake Meredith NRA
Man Drowns In Lake On Fourth Of July

Around 8 p.m. on the Fourth of July, Borger PD began receiving 911 calls regarding a man having difficulty swimming across Sanford-Yake Cove. Witnesses said that C.J., 21, started to swim across the cove to meet up with his brother and friends, who were camping in South Canyon, when he started to have problems swimming. He began yelling for help and then went under the water. Within minutes of receiving the call, Texas Parks and Wildlife officers launched a boat and started to search the cove. National Park Service rangers arrived minutes later and started witness interviews. Efforts to locate C.J.'s body proved fruitless that night and the search was suspended after midnight. Searching continued Thursday morning with the assistance of Texas Parks and Wildlife officers, Amarillo Police Department divers, and Clarendon Fire Department divers. C.J.'s body was recovered early on the afternoon of July 5th. Additional assistance came from the Hutchinson County Sheriffs' Department and Fritch EMS and Fire Department. Supervisory ranger Dale Culver was the incident commander. [Dale Culver, Operations Chief]

Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Lake Meredith NRA
Man Drives Off Park Cliff Into Lake

Around 9 p.m. on June 1st, the Borger Police Department received several 911 reports of a vehicle that had gone over the canyon rim in the Sanford Yake area and was in the lake. Rangers quickly arrived on scene and located the vehicle at the water's edge. The driver was evidently ejected and was found on the lakeshore near the vehicle. He was treated and packaged and taken via patrol boat to the Sanford Yake ramp, where he was transferred to Fritch Ambulance personnel, taken to a parking lot, and flown by LifeStar from there to Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo. He was treated there for a broken back and other injuries. An investigation is underway; a suicide attempt is suspected. [Paul Jones]

Thursday, May 15, 2014
Lake Meredith NRA
Park Staff Respond To Serious Wildland Fire

The Double Diamond Fire started in a neighborhood adjacent to Lake Meredith late on the afternoon of Sunday, May 11th, and, pushed by winds gusting to nearly 40 miles per hour, quickly spread through residential areas and into the park. Over 100 structures, including numerous homes adjacent to the park's boundary, were destroyed.

Relative humidity in the single digits and temperatures in the mid 90's hampered suppression efforts. The fire traveled over four and a half miles in a little over five hours. A cold front passed through the area during that time, causing a shift to strong winds from the north and a temperature drop of 26 degrees.

NPS wildland firefighters were some of the first units on scene and were heavily involved with suppression efforts in the communities. Park law enforcement rangers were tasked with evacuating residential areas in the path of the oncoming fire. Assistance came from numerous volunteer, county and city and federal fire departments, private ranch fire units, Texas A&M Forest Service, city, county and state law enforcement, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and numerous other organizations and individuals. Units from over 150 miles away came to assist.

A unified command is in place with Fritch Volunteer Fire Department, assisted by Texas A&M Forest Service, conducting operations outside of the federal lands, and the Albuquerque Zone Incident Management Team (Type 3 team, IC Cachini) on park lands.

No NPS employees lost property or were injured and all employees are accounted for. About 1,473 acres of park land were affected. No NPS structures were lost, although infrastructure has been damaged. A critical incident stress counselor will be in the park to assist employees.

Official information can be found at the following websites:



[Robert Maguire, Superintendent]

Monday, June 1, 2015
Lake Meredith NRA
Local Man Drowns In Lake

A 21-year-old Amarillo resident died at Spring Canyon just below the Sanford Dam on Wednesday, May 27th.

The Borger Police Department received a 911 call around 11:30 a.m. reporting that a swimmer had gone under and had not surfaced.

Rangers arrived on scene within minutes and had a john boat and two kayaks in the water within 30 minutes of the initial 911 call. Search efforts were accompanied by a grid ground search by NPS firefighters in the Spring Canyon swimming area. The man's body was found by the Amarillo Police Department's dive team about an hour later.

[Robert Maguire]

Friday, July 10, 2015
Lake Meredith NRA
One Killed, One Seriously Injured In Separate Accidents

On July 4th, rangers and firefighters responded to an ATV rollover accident in the Blue Creek ORV area. A woman was treated and flown to Northwest Texas hospital with a possible cervical spine injury.

During the previous weekend at the Rosita Creek ORV area, a man died after a motorcycle accident.

[Paul D. Jones, Chief Ranger]

Wednesday, May 6, 2020
National Park System
Follow-ups On Previously Reported Incidents

Below are short follow-ups on incidents previously reported in this newsletter.

Lake Meredith NRA — The search continues for the body of Ryan Kennedy, who has been missing since December 15th. On Friday, April 17th, divers found his boat on the lake bottom at a depth of about 32 feet. Side-scan sonar will now be used in that area in an effort to find his remains. Source: Drew Powell, KVII News.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Holiday Weekend Drownings — And A Save

Every year, particularly on holiday weekends, people drown unnecessarily in national parks through lack of preparedness or swimming in hazardous areas. Here are several from Memorial Day weekend, plus a rescue at Cape Hatteras two weeks ago:

Lake Meredith NRA — On the afternoon of Saturday, May 23rd, A.F. and his daughter were on a boat in the lake near Cedar Canyon when his daughter fell overboard. A.F. jumped into the water without a lifejacket to help her, when he began drowning with nobody around. He was in the water for a while before he was rescued and CPR was administered. The National Park Service, game wardens and Hutchinson County Sherriff's deputies helped drive him to the ranger station, where he died. His daughter survived. Source: KFDA News.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Lake Meredith NR
Search In Progress For Missing Hunter

A search is underway for a 46-year-old man who had been hunting in the park and failed to return. Rangers were notified on Monday, October 26th, and started searching hunting areas on foot. The man's wife confirmed that he'd brought a boat to the park, so the search area includes Lake Meredith.

The man is retired from the Air Force, but his wife is currently serving in the Air Force and stationed outside of Texas.

Other agencies assisting in the search include Laughlin Air Force Base, United States Border Patrol Texas Game Wardens and the Val Verde County Sheriff's Office.

Several different techniques are being used to aid in the search, including tracking dogs, patrol vessels, infrared and night vision during the night search, drones and helicopter support.

Source: Erin Rodriguez and Vanessa Croix, KENS News.

July 5, 2023
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area
Body found

In the morning on June 21, the body of an 18-year-old was found in shallow water at Spring Canyon. The individual's body was sent to Lubbock for an autopsy, but preliminary results did not determine the cause of death. The incident is under investigation by the NPS and Cactus Police Department. Source: ABC 7 News

Wednesday, August 9, 2023
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

On August 6, a 34-year-old drowned while swimming in the Spring Canyon swimming area. The individual was with a group of friends, who were all on the shore. At some point, the group realized they no longer saw the swimmer in the water, but their shoes were still on the shore. The group called 9-1-1. Personnel from the NPS, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Hutchinson County Sheriff's Department, Hutchinson County Emergency Services Unit, Fritch Fire, and Borger Fire responded to the incident. Spring Canyon was closed and all visitors were asked to leave the area. Boat sonar was used to narrow the search area, and NPS divers located the individual's body. It is the second water-related fatality at Lake Meredith this year. Source: Lake Meredith National Recreation Area