By: Blaine Barrilleaux, Esq., Lafayette, Louisiana
Texas authorities are investigating whether or not Doug McWilliams, a prominent Houston oil lawyer for Vinson & Elkins LLP, should be charged after leaving the scene of a boating accident that occurred on Austin’s Lake Travis on the evening of May 10th.
A felony arrest warrant was requested by a game warden with the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife, who claimed that Mr. McWilliams “had been drinking” and was intoxicated when he allegedly abandoned several of his injured colleagues after his boat ran aground.
A judge initially signed a felony arrest warrant on June 21st. However, it was withdrawn a day later at the request of Mr. McWilliams’ criminal defense attorney, Brian Roark. In attempts to persuade prosecutors that charges cannot be substantiated, Mr. Roark said in a written statement that the game warden who filed the charge against Mr. McWilliams had done so hastily and without any substantial evidence. Mr. Roark argued that the game warden had withheld information and exaggerated the evidence surrounding the accident, which all suggests that no crime was committed on Mr. McWilliams’ part.
“The game warden decided on his own to attempt to get a warrant for something that is not an offense in Texas and made misleading statements in an effort to do so,” Roark said. “The game warden not only directly contradicted the witnesses who were involved but also hid relevant information which proved that no offense was committed.”
In addition to Mr. McWilliams’ denial of the game warden’s accusation that he had been drinking, 17 other witnesses gave sworn statements that said they had not seen McWilliams drinking heavily or even at all. After the boat crashed, Mr. McWilliams was missing for nearly 5 hours after separating from the injured group in an alleged effort to find help. During that time, the rest of the group was able to contact authorities. They were all rescued, and at least two were hospitalized, the Houston Chronicle reported. A helicopter searched for McWilliams on the dark lake, but he was found when he finally called for help from a callbox at 3:54 a.m.
Mr. McWilliams is a partner in V&E’s Capital Markets and Mergers and Acquisitions practice. Heading the firm’s Equity Capital Markets Group, he has been consistently ranked as one of the top transactional lawyers in the country. The Houston Chronicle stated that a spokesperson from V&E firmly established their support for Mr. McWilliams in this case, “The facts as we understand them do not support this attempt by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to obtain an arrest warrant. Fortunately, that warrant has been recalled. We are fully supporting Doug and all of our attorneys involved in this unfortunate accident.”
Before being rescued, the rest of the group stated that they had feared Mr. McWilliams might have drowned in his attempt to find help, since he had been gone for so long, according to the witness statements.
Mr. McWilliams was surprised to hear that he had been missing for 5 hours before calling for help. In his affidavit, he described his shoulder being separated in the crash. Additionally, he remembered falling and being knocked unconscious while trying to find his way in the dark to a marina he could see in the distance.
“I have heard the insinuation that law enforcement might be suspicious that I was attempting to perhaps hide away during those hours because I might have thought myself to be intoxicated when the accident occurred. I must admit that I take great offense to this,” McWilliams proclaimed in his sworn statement. “I was not hiding from anyone as I had nothing to hide. I was not intoxicated when the wreck occurred or, for that matter, at any time during the night.”
The investigation will be reviewed by the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, after which it is predicted that all charges against Mr. McWilliams will be dropped.
Why You Need a Texas Boating Accident Lawyer On Your Side
While this unfortunate boating incident seems to be a true accident and not the result of Mr. McWilliams acting carelessly, there are plenty of boating accidents that happen on the Texas waterways where someone is clearly at fault. Thankfully, no one was killed or permanently injured in this case, but boat crashes can cause life-altering injuries or even be fatal. When an accident happens on the water due to the direct negligence of another individual, you need a Texas boating accident lawyer to stand up for you.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could be entitled to compensation for any medical bills, lost wages, or other damages that your injuries have caused. Only an experienced Texas boating accident lawyer can review your case and help you determine how to proceed. If you’ve suffered an injury or lost a loved one in a boating accident, it can be a legal nightmare to hold the guilty party financially responsible and receive the compensation you need to move forward. Attorney Robert White of Childs, Bishop & White, PC is ready to step in as your Texas boating accident lawyer and ensure your rights are aggressively protected.
Ask Robert White, Your Dedicated Odessa Attorney
While most serious boaters are aware of the potential dangers, too many people think of time on the water as simple, leisurely fun and don’t consider the important safety measures. There are many laws that regulate boating and waterway activities in Texas. Robert White, your Texas boating accident lawyer, is extremely knowledgeable on these laws, giving him the ability to determine if you are entitled to compensation after an accident on the water. If you or a loved one have questions after a boating accident, ask Robert White at Childs, Bishop & White, PC. Together with his team, he can help you navigate the specific legal challenges involved with boating injuries. Call attorney Robert White’s office today at (432) 580-5421 for help.
About The Author
Blaine Barrilleaux is a Louisiana Maritime lawyer and managing partner of the Law Offices of Blaine Barrilleaux which has offices in Lafayette and Metairie, Louisiana. Blaine also works personal injury cases related to car accidents, 18-wheeler accidents, premises liability, and workers’ compensation.