Marble Falls man convicted of assaulting police captain with boat

Marble Falls Police Capt. Ted Young

A Marble Falls man who ran over a Marble Falls police captain with his boat was sentenced by District Judge Allan Garrett on Oct. 19 to 10 years in prison, but then had his sentence probated for 10 years after an agreement was reached between the man's attorney and the Burnet County District Attorney's office.

James “Hank” Fry must spend 120 days in the Burnet County Jail as a condition of his probation for his conviction for intoxication assault causing serious bodily injury to a peace officer, a second-degree felony.

On July 4, 2015, Fry's boat collided with a MFPD patrol boat piloted by Capt. Ted Young, running over Young, striking him and sending him into the water. The force of the collision broke Young's shoulder and several ribs, fractured a vertebrae in his spine, lacerated his spleen and caused bleeding on the brain.

Young's life vest, damaged in the collision, failed to inflate. Young's wife, Patricia, was also on the boat and managed to hold her husband above the water while she called for help. Fry and his wife, Kristena, did drive back and helped pull Ted Young from the water and get his boat back to dock.

Hank Fry was found to be intoxicated at the time of the incident and he was charged with aggravated assault and intoxication assault as a result.

As the trial was pending, the Youngs advised Burnet County District Attorney Sonny McAfee they wanted to sit down and meet the Frys prior to trial. Asked the purpose of the meeting by McAfee, Ted Young said he and Patricia wanted to thank the Frys for helping him afer the collision and to discuss the case before it went to trial.

McAfee and Hank Fry's attorney, Eddie Shell, arranged the meeting, at which the Youngs both expressed their appreciation to the Frys for their assistance and then discussed Hank Fry's choices that led to the collision. Hank Fry apologized to both Ted and Patricia Young and he and Kristena Fry expressed their gratitude that Capt. Young survived the crash and Patricia escaped with only minor injuries.

It was also discussed as to why Hank Fry had failed to see a marked patrol boat prior to the collision. Early news reports indicated the police vehicle might not have had its lights on at the time of the collision, yet the boat's lights were actually still lit when the defendant helped get the boat back to dock.

Fry stated his poor choices were what caused him not to see the police boat and that boat lights were not a factor. After the meeting, the Youngs took the surprising step of asked that the case be settled without a trial and approved the suggested sentence that was accepted by Garrett.

McAfee said it is unusual for victims of a crime to meet with the defendant prior to trial, or for a defense attorney to agree to such a meeting. He added that in this case, Shell

actually facilitated the meeting and his client and the client's wife quickly agreed to the request.

While not going into all of the details of the meeting, McAfee said the discussion was a very frank one.

“The concerns by Capt. Young and his wife were obviously about the lack of judgment by the defendant in the collision and the injuries Capt. Young sustained as a result,” McAfee said. “Capt. Young has had several serious surgeries following the collision and has not yet been able to return to his full duties as police captain. However, those concerns were clearly secondary to their appreciation for assistance after the collision.

“It is a very odd circumstance when the defendant in a case causes the damage to a victim but then mitigates that damage by assisting after the harm. That was the driving force, I believe, in Capt. Young and his wife wanting to express their thanks, and to also explain their feelings. It was also due to Mr. Shell’s client’s response and acceptance of responsibility at that meeting that lead to the settlement of this case.

“I certainly appreciate Patricia and Ted Young thinking of this solution, and I appreciate Mr. Shell’s willingness to not only allow, but to encourage his client and his client’s wife to participate,” McAfee said. “I believe justice was served when Judge Garrett approved the proposed agreement.”

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