- 12 crashes.
- four falls/ serious accidents.
- two assaults.
- three drownings.
Moss Creek Lake in Big Spring is known as a family fun destination and it also provides water to Howard County and several surrounding counties.
The lake sits miles outside the heart of Big Spring, its open year round and has no life guards or security patrolling the area.
“On a typical weekend during the summer moss lake is very busy its a popular place to go out, camp, picnic, boat and swim to cool off so I would say there are several hundred people out there on any given weekend at least,” said Craig Ferguson, fire chief, Big Spring.
Big Spring Officials said they know without patrol, accidents are going to happen, and they do every year.
“There’s a lot of drug activity, a lot of alcohol use and kids. I cant just say its underage kids but its probably underage kids, older age kids and young adults that go out to places like this just to go out to chill and have a good time but the problem is that its a safety factor when you combine all these elements like drugs and alcohol and these things and there’s no lifeguard,” said Mayor Larry McLellan, Big Spring.
“You know, your gonna have accidents and I would say that 99 percent of all accidents are preventable,” said Todd Darden, City Manager Big Spring.
Three months ago was the last reported drowning at Moss Creek Lake. Following that incident Local 2/Fox 24 requested all the documents covering incidents and accidents at the lake for the last 10 years.
What we got instead was the last eight years of documents and city officials couldn’t explain where the missing two years went.
“We certainly have activities going on out there that’s going to cause some people harm I think,” said Mayor Larry McLellan, Big Spring.
In total, there were 22 incidents reported at the lake.
Broken down that’s:
A disturbance was also reported at the location, however, records indicate no injuries.
“Unfortunately we run out there about six or eight times a year on various emergencies on average at least one drowning a year out there,” said Fire Chief Ferguson.
The summer months, particularly between May and August, appear to be the most popular for visitors. Ferguson says during those months, crews are called to the lake on a regular basis.
“Roughly two calls a month is what we will average going out to Moss Lake for fire and EMS,” said fire chief Ferguson.
According to Chief Ferguson, the fire department responds to two calls a month during the summer, the court documents show two or three calls a year for fire and EMS as well as the police department calls for service.
In an attempt to get answer from the Big Spring Park Superintendent Steve Salinas, many calls went unanswered and meetings were canceled.
The same response was given by Big Spring Public Works Director, Johnny Wolmack, who also scheduled over meetings and refused to comment.
Officials with the Big Spring Police Department also refused to comment regarding our inquiries into incidents at Moss Creek Lake.
With many questions unanswered, there is one thing the Big Spring Mayor, City Manager and Fire Chief could all agree on. All accidents at Moss Lake were preventable and everyone should be wearing a life jacket at all times.
“Obviously these things are going to happen unless you have somebody out there that’s patrolling the area, I just don’t see it at this time that we’ve had enough to patrol as far as lifeguards in that area,” said Mayor McLellan.
“All of them preventable, most of them not wearing life preservers or life vests. Its unfortunate that it happened but that’s the reason that Texas has those laws,” said Darden, “I think we just need folks to be careful and mindful of the fact that Texas laws apply and if they are outside that designated swimming areas they have to have on a life jacket.”
“So far I’ve never been to a drowning inside the designated swimming area at Moss Lake and I’ve never been to a drowning where someone was wearing a life jacket,” said Chief Ferguson.
As of now, Big Spring officials have no intentions on changing any safety precautions at Moss Creek Lake.