A man in Belton, Texas, Jason Stuart Bernal, 43, was arrested and charged with criminal negligent homicide after a girl, Katlyn Oliver, 4, swimming in the water at Temple Lake Park in Belton with a life-preserver on, got caught up in the propeller of the man’s recreational houseboat and died. The girl’s father, Patrick Oliver, jumped into the water to try to save her, but the boat’s propeller severed both of his legs. He is listed in serious condition at a local hospital.
KWTX reported that Jason Bernal was arrested by police officers from the Temple Police Department in Texas. According to WTSP, on Saturday morning, Bernal was booked into the Bell County Jail. He has had his bail set by a judge at $150,000.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, after the Temple Police Department in Texas presented its case against Bernal, a complaint that he had committed criminal negligent homicide was issued against him by the Bell County district attorney’s office on Sunday afternoon.
Shawana Neely, a spokesperson for the Temple Police Department, said that Katlyn Oliver was transported to Baylor Scott and White Hospital, located near Temple, Texas. The boating accident that tragically ended the girl’s life happened sometime before 7 p.m.
The police were called out to Temple Lake Park at 6:47 p.m. A 911 caller said a houseboat had backed up into the girl and she had been caught up in the boat’s propeller. The 4-year-old girl died at approximately 7:45 p.m from the injuries she suffered.
New visitors to the Temple Lake Park were turned away by police officers stationed at the gates of the park. People who were already at the park were not asked to leave, though.
Katlyn Oliver was pronounced dead by Justice of the Peace David Barfield and the young girl will have an autopsy performed on her to determine her cause of death. Her entire body was injured by multiple lacerations caused by the houseboat’s propeller. The girl’s father was also transported to Baylor Scott and White Hospital, where he is still listed in serious condition.
Organizations that assisted at the scene of the boating accident in Belton, Texas, were Texas Parks and Wildlife, crews from Morgan’s Point Resort Dive Team and Police Department, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Temple Fire Department. The Temple Police Department has not released information about how the accident began. The cause of the boating accident is being investigated by the Temple Police Department Special Investigation’s Squad.
After a girl of four, Katlyn Oliver, was killed in Belton, Texas, when she was swimming in a life jacket and got caught up in the propeller of a houseboat, the houseboat’s owner, Jason Stuart Bernal, 43, was arrested and charged with criminally negligent homicide, which is a felony in Texas. Bernal could face anywhere from 180 days to a maximum of two years in state jail if he is convicted. The Temple Police Department said that there might be additional charges filed against Bernal.
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy Bell County Jail