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Associated Press article on Texoma Poker run tragedy

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Old 09-03-2006, 05:06 AM
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Default Associated Press article on Texoma Poker run tragedy

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

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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, Tenn.

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 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.

"They were still involved in the poker run when the accident took place," she said.

Troopers won't able to determine the cause of the accident until a reconstruction of the boats and the event are done, which could take a few days, she said.

Vacationer Steve Dover said he saw the boats take off for the poker run but they never returned. He said he knew something had gone wrong when he saw the patrol and other emergency vehicles.

"There was just floating debris," he said. "We've seen life vests, we've seen life preservers."

Dover said the mood at the lake was somber.

"We just kind of held our heads down and came back in and are just waiting to hear what really did happen," he said.

Labor Day vacationers remained at the shore of the massive lake, which is Oklahoma's second-largest body of water and straddles the Oklahoma-Texas border.
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