Fayette County Superintendent: State Investigating Travis Gaines Incident

Reported by: Aaron Adelson
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Updated: 6/18/2013 6:31 pm
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AAdelsonABC36

The state is investigating what happened the day a Dunbar High School baseball player became paralyzed on a Florida beach.

Last month we learned a witness said Travis Gaines drank alcohol before the April incident. 

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's report mentions alcohol.  Where did it come from?  Superintendent Tom Shelton says it did not come from a Dunbar staff member, and now it's a matter for the state of Kentucky.

The community has rallied around Travis Gaines.  His Facebook fan page has nearly 9,000 supporters.

Florida authorities say their case is closed, but a Kentucky agency is still investigating. 

Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Tom Shelton says Social Services is looking into what happened.

"I can’t tell you what we talked about. We have to share with them. That’s our responsibility. When we found out about underage drinking, we had to report it to Social Services. It’s one of the agencies and entities I’m talking about. I don’t have any indication that it’s been closed," said Shelton.

According to the police report on April 2nd, Travis Gaines dove into shallow water, and hit his head on the sand.  He hasn't walked since.

Because of privacy laws, Social Services cannot comment on any investigation.  A spokesperson for the agency says it can investigate a caregiver responsible for a minor.  The spokesperson for the agency says Social Services can investigate an incident that happened in another state if a minor remains in danger here in Kentucky.


Last month, we reported the school's investigation was complete, but now Superintendent Shelton says it's not finished.

"It took a long time before it was even clear what happened.  We didn't have clear witness statements.  We had a lot of conjecture and speculation, and so most of the investigation didn't even really start taking place to any level of detail until the middle of May, and so that was when we determined the level of student discipline that needed to take place, and act accordingly.  And as I mentioned, that's when my staff member became ill," said Shelton.

Shelton says the District's Attorney passed away shortly after, putting an immediate hold on the district's investigation.  He says the district won't look into the matter further, until a new attorney is in place.

“They have open notes into an investigation. They do not have closed files in this situation so therefore it’s not a closed investigation," said Shelton.

Shelton says the school disciplined students according to policy after the Florida incident. 

"Someone obviously provided alcohol to students who were not of age to have had the alcohol.  The students have been dealt with accordingly.  I don't control the outcome with the adults and the others who were present, because none of my staff were there and present and accountable for the children at the time," said Shelton. 

The trip to Florida isn't the only underage drinking incident related to Dunbar Athletics.  Just weeks before Gaines' injury, Shelton says Dunbar administrators suspended a group of Dunbar students for drinking at a high school basketball game.

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