Kenedy, TX — Authorities have released the identity of one of the four men who were killed last Sunday morning (May 19, 2013) after a fatal accident near Kenedy. DPS troopers said that Joseph Solis, 25, was a passenger in a Honda with three other men that was involved in a fatal accident with an 18-wheeler along Highway 72. All men in the Honda, including Solis, were killed at the scene.

According to the DPS reports, the Honda was being driven by a 24-year old man and was headed west along Highway 72 at about 12:15 a.m. A motorcycle in the front of Honda was leading the way along Highway 72 and it was later learned that all five men were employed by J.C. Fodale Energy Services, a drilling company.

As the two vehicles approach FM 1145, they came across an 18-wheeler that was making a left turn. Both the motorcycle and the Honda tried to pass the 18-wheeler, but were unable to clear the truck in time. The motorcycle was laid down and slid underneath the 18-wheeler’s trailer, but the Honda crashed into the back-right section.

The collision left all four men in the Honda fatally injured and they passed away at the scene. The motorcyclist, identified as 28-year old Phillip Batref, was taken to a hospital with serious injuries.

DPS troopers claimed that the group had just returned from Desperados Saloon, a bar in Kenedy, and were headed to a drilling site. The accident remains under their investigation.

Scene of the Accident

Commentary:

This accident is a good example of why both early investigation is needed in these situations and how that can overlap with Texas Dram Shop Law and TABC violations. Ultimately, we don’t know all the details here, but the news reports are claiming that the victims were returning from a local bar in the early morning hours. But many people don’t realize that even though a driver has the responsibility of not getting behind the wheel while intoxicated, a bar has an equal responsibility not to over-serve a customer who is already obviously physically intoxicated. If I were handling this situation, I would set up an immediate investigation of this bar and demand any video footage, credit card receipts, and proof of sale. If this bar over-served alcohol to a driver who was then allowed to leave and get behind the wheel, they may be held liable for the ensuing accident by virtue of their negligent provision of alcohol. An early investigation, then, is crucial because it’s not uncommon for bars or restaurants to try and cover their tracks in the wake of an accident like this one.

 

— Grossman Law Offices

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I'm a former employee. I had brought up this exact scenario and suggested a maintenance procedure that would eliminate the possibility of this type injury. Obviously my warning went unheeded.
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