BCSO: No charges to be filed after criminal probe into 2021 winter storm outages

Sheriff Salazar formed special unit days after deadly storm to investigate 22 deaths in the San Antonio area

Snow day in San Antonio during the February 2021 winter storm. (William Caldera, KSAT 12)

SAN ANTONIO – The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has closed its criminal inquiry into power outages related to last year’s deadly winter storm without filing any charges, BCSO officials confirmed Monday.

The February 2021 storm, which included days of rolling and sustained power outages throughout much of the state and exposed a myriad of issues with the Texas power grid, was blamed for contributing to the deaths of at least 246 people statewide.

Days after the storm passed BCSO Sheriff Javier Salazar announced the formation of a special unit that ultimately investigated the deaths of 22 people in the San Antonio area and whether the outages had contributed to them passing away.

After a “thorough” probe by BCSO investigators it was determined that none of the deaths were caused by the outages, an agency spokeswoman confirmed Monday afternoon.

Separately, half a dozen wrongful death lawsuits filed in San Antonio against several power companies and multiple public entities, including CPS Energy and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), are pending.

The suits have been moved to a multi-district litigation (MDL) court in Harris County, a CPS spokeswoman confirmed late last month.

That court will retain jurisdiction until the conclusion of discovery and pretrial motions, the spokeswoman said.

With natural gas supplies handicapped during the storm, the price of fuel skyrocketed, forcing energy companies to pay hundreds of times what they had been paying just days before the storm hit Texas.

About the Author:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.