Police Report Sheds New Light On Travis Gaines' Injury

Reported by: Aaron Adelson
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Updated: 5/24/2013 10:36 am
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AAdelsonABC36

Just a day after the head baseball coach at Dunbar High School resigned, we're learning more about a diving accident that left one of Larry Poynter's former players paralyzed. 

Travis Gaines' parents say their son is on his way back to Lexington, and will attend Dunbar High School's graduation Friday.  An injury left Gaines with no feeling from his chest down.

We obtained the report from the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, the agency that responded to the scene where Travis Gaines was hurt.  The report sheds new light on the events leading up to Gaines' injury.

According to the report, a witness says Gaines' friends claimed he drank alcohol before diving into shallow water, and hitting his head on a sand bar. 

The witness is Lieutenant Bruce Barnes, a police officer in Noblesville, IN.  Barnes was at the Florida beach with his family.

Here's what we already knew:

Travis Gaines was with the Dunbar High School baseball for a tournament during spring break. In their off-time, the team went to the beach.

In the report, the off-duty police officer describes the events exactly like this:

"Barnes attention focused to the males when their use of foul language could be heard by his children.  While observing the males, he overheard them planning to enter the water and swim as far out as they could in attempt to impress a group of females.  As the group began to run toward the water, Gaines dove into the water in a shallow area.  Gaines laid still in the water after his dive.  At first, Barnes believed Gaines was "Horse playing" or faking it to mess with his friends.  When Barnes realized Gaines was not faking it, he pulled Gaines from the water and began CPR."

Thursday, we left a message for Lt. Barnes.

Since the injury, we've reached out in an effort to talk to Travis Gaines three times.  We have yet to speak with him. 

Thursday, Travis' father, Keith, declined our request for an on-camera interview but on the phone told us, "It really doesn't matter at this point if he was drinking, or not.  There is no conclusive evidence," said Keith Gaines.

The community poured in support for the Gaines family.  On one website, people have donated more than $18,000 dollars. 

The Facebook page, "Lets Rally Around Travis Gaines" thanked Lexington police officers for donating $1,000. 

The head of the local Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) chapter, Mike Sweeney, sent us this e-mail:

"I received your message about Travis Gaines.

Travis is a son of a retired police officer and as such is a member of our FOP family.

Travis' situation is tragic and regardless of circumstances surrounding the unfortunate event, Travis was left paralyzed.

The cause of this event would not alter our efforts at all to help one of our own.

We continue to pray for the family and hope and pray for Travis' recovery."

Wednesday, Dunbar's baseball coach resigned.  We spoke with the school's Athletic Director on Thursday.  He had no further comment.

ABC36 learned Fayette County Public Schools started its own investigation into the accident on April 2nd, hours after it happened.

"The student discipline that was taken has happened, and was according to policy and procedure.  Any related personnel action has taken place, been followed through, according to our policies and procedures.  Both of those are confidential that I can't comment on specifics," said Superintendent Tom Shelton.

Who is responsible, and will there be any charges?  We have those same questions.  The Okaloosa County Sheriff's office says the case is closed.

Travis Gaines graduates from high school on Friday, and the events from April 2nd will continue to be a part of his future.
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