You’re riding in a vehicle with dozens of other people, when it suddenly veers off the road and into a body of water. It sounds alarming, but it’s an experience tourists pay for all the time when they board a “duck tour.”
Duck boats—vehicles that can operate on land and in water—have been operated as tourist attractions in harbor, river, or lake cities in the U.S. since 1946, many using surplus military amphibious landing vehicles from World War II. And while the majority of duck tours go off without a hitch, there have been exceptions with sometimes deadly results.
Since 1999, there have been 12 incidents in the U.S. involving duck boats, resulting in 44 deaths. The most recent of these has also been the deadliest: the July sinking of a duck boat on Table Rock Lake near Branson, …
On a mid-July afternoon, a bus returned to the Discovering Me Academy day care center in northwest Houston after a field trip. Nobody noticed that one of the children, 3-year-old Raymond Pryer Jr., stayed on the bus.
Nobody found the boy, called “RJ” by his family, until his father arrived to take him home that evening, more than three-and-a-half hours later. By then, RJ had died inside the bus, which had reached 113 degrees.
As of late August, Houston police were still investigating the incident, and no criminal charges have been filed, the Houston Chronicle reports. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is also still investigating.
“It seems to me this is just gross negligence,” said Alan Rosen, the constable of Precinct 1 in Harris County, at the time. “It’s just tragic.”
In August, RJ’s parents filed …
In September 2016, the family of Sandra Bland settled a wrongful death lawsuit involving the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Waller County jail. Bland, an Illinois resident who came to Texas for a job interview, died in the jail – the medical examiner determined the cause of death as suicide by asphyxiation. As part of the $1.9 million settlement, the jail must have emergency nurses on staff at all times, perform timely and accurate cell checks with automated electronic sensors, and seek state funding for staff training and inmate screening.
Bland was just 28 years old, and while many details of the settlement were not disclosed, one can assume that it accounted for the wages she could have earned in her lifetime. Texas does allow families to pursue compensation for future loss of earnings as part of a …