Whatever happened to the 2007 boating accident on Lake Sam Rayburn? - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Whatever happened to the 2007 boating accident on Lake Sam Rayburn?

by Taylor Hemness

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, (KTRE) - Traditionally, Memorial Day weekend is the start of the summer season, when school is either out, or soon will be, and people start spending more and more time outside. But in 2007, that weekend turned tragic, and forever changed the lives of two East Texans.

Charles Gilstrap was boating on Lake Sam Rayburn last year near Shirley Creek off of FM 226. According to Nacogdoches District Attorney Stephanie Stephens, Gilstrap apparently drove through a group of boats, and hit a teenage girl who was trying to get on an inner tube behind one of the boats.

The girl was severely injured at the scene, and ended up having to have her right leg amputated. Gilstrap was arrested and charged with intoxicated assault because police found him to be over the legal blood alcohol limit. His trial has already been postponed, while tests are being done.

"His attorney has asked for, and is absolutely entitled to an independent testing of the blood sample that was taken from Mr. Gilstrap," Stephens said. "And they're in the process of obtaining that information."

"I think we got out on the lake, and get out on the water and people forget that boating while intoxicated can be just as dangerous, and is still a crime. So I just encourage everybody to remember as Labor Day approaches to be safe about your driving as well as your boating."

As for the victim, her attorney told KTRE that she is doing well, and is preparing for her senior year of high school. She wears a prosthetic on her leg, because without it she's confined to a wheelchair.

In a statement, the victim's mother said that she has kept a very positive attitude through the ordeal, and because of that, her child is her hero. Gilstrap's trial date is set for late October, and if convicted, he could face two to ten years in prison.

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