Bill related to Lake O’ the Pines electrocution deaths moves forward in Texas Legislature

Three Boy Scouts died after their sailboat came in contact with power line hanging over water

Bill related to Lake O’ the Pines electrocution deaths moves forward in Texas Legislature

AUSTIN, TX (KLTV) - The families of three East Texas boy scouts electrocuted on Lake O’ the Pines have testified in favor of a bill that would create specific safety and inspection requirements for certain utility companies.

The families of Will Brannon, 17, Thomas Larry, 11, and Heath Faucheux, 16 spoke before the Texas Senate Business and Commerce Committee on Tuesday.

Their testimony comes as House Bill 4150 gains traction in the state legislature. The bill, authored by Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, would require utility companies that provide electricity to provide a summary description of its hazard recognition training programs for employees and contractors as well as the number of incidents reported by employees or the public regarding power lines not in compliance with the National Electric Safety Code. Fatalities or injuries from transmission lines not in compliance would also have to be reported.

In August 2017, Brannon, Larry and Faucheux were on a catamaran sailboat in the Alley Creek area of Lake O’ the Pines when the boat came in contact with an electric transmission line hanging over the water. Brannon and Faucheux died at the scene. Larry was flown to a hospital in Shreveport, La., where he later died.

The transmission line belongs to Upshur Rural Electric Cooperative. In March 2019, the Army Corps of Engineers told KLTV the company buried the line under Lake O’ The Pines at the Upshur/Marion County line.

HB 4150 is expected to be voted out of committee Thursday and then head to the Senate for a vote next week. The Senate’s deadline is May 22.

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