“Highroller” Poker Run Tragedy in Oklahoma – 5 Killed when Boats Collide

UPDATE: Considerable information, links, and commentary has been posted on the BoaterEd.com Forums.

CNN is reporting the tragic death of 5 people when 2 boats collided during the “Highroller” Poker Run at Lake Texoma on the Texas, Oklahoma boarder this weekend. From intitial reports, it would appear that one of the boats broadsided with the other at high speed killing 4 occupants of 1 boat and 1 of the 2 occupants of the other.

From the report:

Two jet boats participating in a competition collided on Lake Texoma on Saturday, killing five people and injuring another, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

One of the boats struck the other watercraft on the middle of its side, trooper Kera Philippi said.

Philippi identified the victims as Gordon Mineo, whose age wasn’t available, of Rockwall, Texas; his wife, Ann, 59; Amy Dawn Lane, 31, of Little Elm, Texas; Justin R. Lane, 25, also of Little Elm; and Myra L. Gibson, 51, of Old Hickory, Tennessee.

The Mineos and the Lanes were in one boat, while Gibson and her husband, Bruce, 54, were in the other, Philippi said. Bruce Gibson was flown to a Dallas, Texas, hospital, she said. His condition was not known.

Only pieces were left of one boat. The rear of a yellow, twin-hull jet boat with purple trim was partially submerged and the left side of the bottom was ripped out. A tugboat towed the damaged boats to shore, Philippi said.

Gordon Mineo was the organizer of the “Highroller Poker Run” event, in which participants get a playing card at five different stops and win if they have the best poker hand at the end, Philippi said.

Typical of media reporting for boat and aircraft accidents, I have to question the accuracy of a some of the reporting.

  • 1. “Jet Boats” – I suspect they meant to say “Performance Boats” – most, in not all of which are not jet powered but gas inboard / outboards.
  • 2. Photo Description – The article suggests that only the rear of 1 boat was visible while the photo is clearly the bow of a twin-hull performance boat. It would seem much more likely that the bow would float vs. the stern given that the bow is light and generally has added floatation vs the stern which holds likely 1500lbs or more of engines and outdrives and the heaviest portion of the hull.
  • Update from the Dallas Morning News:

    In the crash Saturday, a 35-foot boat driven by Gordon Mineo of Rockwall collided with a 43-foot boat owned by a couple from Old Hickory, Tenn. All four people in Mr. Mineo’s boat died, including his wife and a couple from Little Elm.

    In the other boat, Myra Gibson died at the scene. Her husband, Bruce Gibson, remained in fair condition in a Dallas hospital.

    There have been conflicting reports about how the accident occurred.

    Mr. Hayes said a witness told him that Mr. Mineo had picked up his chip from the West End Marina and headed back out. Mr. Gibson’s boat was headed to the West End Marina to pick up his chip. “They were running directly at each other, but at a safe distance,” Mr. Hayes said.

    He said the witness told him she turned around to get another chip. When she turned back around, she saw the wreckage, Mr. Hayes said. He said other witnesses told him that Mr. Mineo’s boat took a sharp turn into Mr. Gibson’s boat.

    Anyone who saw the accident is asked to call the Oklahoma Highway Patrol at 877-253-2820.

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    7 thoughts on ““Highroller” Poker Run Tragedy in Oklahoma – 5 Killed when Boats Collide

    1. The bad reporting the jet boat in question was a Cat Tunnel with twin 1000 hp Gas Turbine power units and from what was said about the boat it was capable of 100mph plus.Others are saying the water conditions where very choppie Cats do not handle well in this type of water

    2. I was at the marina that 4 of the people were brought in. It was a very sad scene. It really does not really matter about engines or water conditions. The scene was horrible. Everyone with these or any kind of boat should reconsider ever going these excessive speeds on the lake. If you would have seen what I saw you would never go that fast on the lake again. Many tears were shed and prayers said for these people. The emergency people tried so desperately to save these people and were very tramatized by what they saw and had to deal with. Those memories will be in everyones minds for a long time. Lives were changed forever.

    3. The flash gordon boat was able to do 160+mph and was doing about 75mph.

      A relative of the deceased.

    4. Of course, many lives were changed forever. The victims were all very much loved by all.
      However, it was an accident, by no fault of either driver, that could happen at any speed on any body of water. Wave runners are out there running as fast as, or in some cases faster, than these boats were and the wave runners are, for the most part, driven by wreckless, inexperienced drivers asking for an accident! The types of boats (performance crafts), size and power of engines (including speeds CAPABLE of) and the events (Poker Runs, etc.) in which accidents such as this occur should not be held accountable for an accident of this magnitude. Sometimes, tragic events occur, we ask why, and throw around the blame; but in this case, there is no feasible reason why, there is no blame, it just is.

      LY, G&AM!

      A friend of the deceased from Lake Texoma.

    5. L Bates,
      We here at DestinSharks agree that accidents happen – it’s a part of life. And while the consequences are often tragic, more tragic indeed are misguided reactions to “prevent” such accidents in the future. As boaters, we are most vulnerable when segmented into conflicts between sailboaters vs powerboaters, powerboaters vs jet skis, … because once we allow for one type of water restriction, we very much open the door for more. This story was big because it is so uncommon by any reasonable measure. I’m continually impressed with recreational boating’s low fatality rate compared to other activities which is rarely recognized by the press or government officials.

    6. thank all of you for your kind words and prayers. we still dont know the outcome of this terrible accident yet. there were lives lost that shouldnt have been. there are two young children 8 and 2 now that will grow up without their mom and dad— thats tragic- please keep us in your prayers untill all this is over

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