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TPWD News Release — May 31, 2007

Texas Game Warden Dies During Search-and-Rescue Operation

[ EDITORS: 2nd Ld-Writethru ]

Revised and updated 1:32 p.m. Thursday, May 31, 2007.

GLEN ROSE, Texas — Texas Game Warden Teyran "Ty" Patterson, 28, died in the line of duty Wednesday, May 30 during a search-and-rescue operation on the Paluxy River near here. Patterson drowned after his boat capsized in floodwaters. He was transported to Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth and pronounced dead there Wednesday morning.

"Ty died doing what he loved. He died serving a Texas family dealing with its own tragic loss," said Col. Pete Flores, Law Enforcement Division director with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. "We are going to miss this courageous young game warden, and our hearts and prayers go out to his parents and loved ones."

Patterson and his partner, Game Warden Danny Tuggle, were attempting to recover the body of a suspected drowning victim where the river crosses FM 205 in Somervell County when the accident occurred at about 8:10 a.m. Wednesday. On Tuesday afternoon, Courtney Butler, 16, of Stephenville, was swimming with friends on the river. Friends reported her missing around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. This afternoon, a team of enforcement agencies continues to search for Butler. TPWD law enforcement officials are investigating the incident. No additional details about the incident are available.

Tuggle, a 25-year veteran game warden, suffered near-drowning injuries and was also transported to Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth, where he was treated and released at noon today.

Somervell County Sheriff Greg Doyle and several deputies were observing the search Wednesday morning when the boat carrying Patterson and Tuggle capsized, and several deputies immediately entered the water to aid the game wardens. Members of the Somervell County Fire and Emergency Medical Service also entered the water to help the game wardens, and provided emergency medical aid immediately after the incident.

“Swift and effective action by Sheriff Doyle and his deputies probably saved the life of Warden Tuggle,” said Maj. Butch Shoop, TPWD Law Enforcement Division regional director out of Fort Worth. “Somervell County Fire and EMS immediately went to work trying to help Warden Patterson. We deeply appreciate the assistance we have received from these and other organizations involved, including the Texas Department of Public Safety, which provided a helicopter to help search the river.”

Patterson was the second Texas game warden killed in the line of duty in less than three months. Game Warden Justin Hurst was shot and killed on March 17 during an exchange of gunfire between law enforcement officers and a suspected poacher.

Since 1919, 17 Texas game wardens have lost their lives in the line of duty, five by drowning.

Patterson earned his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Texas State University, and was a graduate of the 51st Texas Game Warden Academy in 2005. He was stationed in Johnson County. He is survived by his parents, Viann and Joe Patterson of Seguin, Texas.