On Wednesday, October 19, 2016, Judge Allan Garrett sentenced James “Hank” Fry to 10 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division but then suspended that sentenced for a 10 year period. Judge Garrett placed Fry on probation pursuant to an agreement between the District Attorney’s Office and Fry’s lawyer, Eddie Shell, and also ordered Fry to spend 120 days in Burnet County Jail as a condition of that probation. Fry was sentenced for Intoxication Assault Causing Serious Bodily Injury to a Peace Office caused during a boating collision on July 4, 2015 when his boat collided with the Marble Falls Police Department’s Patrol Boat which was piloted by Capt. Ted Young. Fry ran over the police boat with his boat, striking Capt. Young and eventually landing him into the water. The force of the collision broke Young’s shoulder, fractured a vertebra of his spine, broke several ribs, lacerated his spleen and caused bleeding in his brain. Capt. Young’s life vest was also damaged during the collision and failed to inflate. Capt. Young’s wife, Patricia Young, was also on the boat with Capt. Young, and held Capt. Young above water while calling for help. Fry, along with his wife Kristena Fry, drove back around and Fry pulled Capt. Young from the water and helped get the boat back to the dock. Fry was found to be intoxicated and was charged with Aggravated Assault and Intoxication Assault stemming from that incident.
During the pendency of the trial, Capt. Young and Patricia Young advised District Attorney Sonny McAfee they would like to sit down and meet with the Defendant and his wife prior to trial. When McAfee asked the purpose of the meeting, Capt. Young said he and his wife first wanted to thank Fry and Kristena Fry for helping him after the collision. Young said he and Patricia wanted to discuss the case with Fry before going to trial on the matter. McAfee then contacted Fry’s attorney, Eddie Shell, who readily agreed to the meeting. At that meeting Young and his wife both expressed their appreciation for Fry and his wife’s assistance and further discussed Fry’s choices that lead to the collision. Fry apologized to both Ted Young and Patricia Young and he along with Kristena Fry expressed their gratitude that Young had survived and that Patricia escaped with minor injuries. The topic also arose about why Fry had failed to see the marked patrol boat prior to the collision. Early news reports had indicated that the police vehicle might not have had its lights on at the time of the collision but the boat’s lights were actually still lighted when Fry helped get the boat back to the dock. Fry said it was his poor decisions that caused him not to see the police boat, rather than a result of the boat not having lights. Following the meeting, both Capt. Young and his wife expressed their preference that the case be settled without a trial if possible and approved the suggested sentence that was submitted to Judge Garrett for his approval.
District Attorney McAfee said it is quite an unusual request from the victims of crime to meet with the defendant, and also unusual for a defense attorney to agree to the meeting. He added that in this case, Mr. Shell actually facilitated the meeting and his client and his client’s wife quickly agreed. McAfee did not go into all the details of the meeting but did say the meeting was very frank between all parties. He added, “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. 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. I believe justice was served when Judge Garrett approved the proposed agreement.”