A Kerr County woman died June 9 of injuries she received in an accident at the Guadalupe River near Center Point along River Road.
At that location, Sheriff's Officer Jimmie Poole, crime prevention and public information officer for the Kerr County SO, said, people have used ropes to jump into the water when they get enough momentum to swing far enough out from the riverbank and over the water, which is fairly deep in that part of the channel.
The present rope is tied high in a cypress tree at the bank, and when it hangs straight, it’s not over the water. It’s above the edge of the riverbank where the tree roots meet the water.
“We’ve had officers go out there and cut the rope down, to keep people from using it and possibly getting hurt. But by the next day or two, every time, somebody’s managed to climb back up there and tie another one up there. Or they might have thrown it over the limb and managed to pull the end down and re-tie it,” Poole said.
Accident history there
This accident location is in Kerr County, outside Kerrville city limits, and the Sheriff’s Office is first responder to calls there.
Filed SO reports going back to June 1, 2016 – the beginning of last summer’s river activities – examined all reports from the official 100, 200 and 300 blocks of River Road; and found the following:
• 12 total calls to the 100 block, none about falls or injuries;
• 5 total calls in the 200 block, with one in late May this year about a fall off a rope swing with injuries;
• 4 total calls in the 300 block, none about falls or injuries.
A similar request to Eric Maloney, EMS coordinator at the Kerrville Fire Department, resulted in three calls involving “medical or trauma” out of 10 total calls to that same area.
On Oct. 29, 2016, EMS responded to a call in that area about 4:40 p.m. that involved a rope swing; and that person had to be air-lifted by medical helicopter to a San Antonio trauma center;
The same late May 2017 call was listed at about 4:20 p.m. with the patient being taken to PRMC;
And EMS responded to the June 9 call.
Maloney said the many people who go to various sections of the Guadalupe River to play in the water need to remember that the heat, and their sweat and sunscreen, all are factors in their safety while they do that.
People get dehydrated and aren’t in the right condition to climb a rope swing or hang onto it with their hands sweaty and slippery, he said.
The addressing on River Road is uncertain as there are few numbered gates or driveways, but “The Springs” is a short distance from Center Point and very similar to much of the rest of the river channel in Kerr County.
There’s often a paved road with narrow or no shoulder, and varying distances to the edge of the water. Few are official entertainment areas. Many are on private property or highway right-of-way, and over the years just customarily used by the public.
Amy Rochelle Hopkins Morsey of Kerr County died June 9 of injuries she received in an accident at the river near Center Point along River Road.
Morsey, 48, was reportedly with her husband and friends, playing in the river at an area known as “The Springs,” less than 2 miles upstream from the Center Point dam and low-water crossing.
Poole said according to department reports, the accident happened about 12:50 p.m. when Morsey apparently was attempting her first use of a rope swing at the riverbank, and slipped down the rope and fell, and hit her head on the roots of the tree at the riverbank.
According to the SO report, Morsey was declared deceased at 1:51 p.m. at the Peterson Regional Medical Center Emergency Room, of severe head trauma, after her husband and others continually performed CPR until she arrived at the ER.
The SO report says an SO sergeant responded to the location on River Road to assist EMS with “a fall with injuries.”
Authorities did not order an autopsy in this case.