Laredo, TX — On November 15, 2018, Jasmine Nicole Gonzalez was hospitalized after a pickup truck hauling a trailer hit her vehicle on the streets of Laredo.
Police reports say the crash happened around 10:42 p.m. at the intersection of Ugarte Street and Santa Ursula Avenue. A Chevy Silverado driven by 48-year-old Sergio Covarrubias was reportedly headed west on Ugarte when it attempted to turn left onto Santa Ursula Avenue. After it turned and began to head south, Covarrubias made a rapid unsafe lane change to the far right southbound lane, where it collided with a Ford Focus.
The crash caused incapacitating injuries to Gonzalez, who was a passenger in the Focus at the time. She was taken to an area hospital for treatment.
The police report indicates that the driver of the Focus, 18-year-old Raul Rios, was intoxicated at the time of the crash. He refused field intoxication tests and was charged with intoxication assault. Sergio Covarrubias was charged with making an unsafe lane change.
Map of the Area
Jasmine Gonzalez Crash Report, Page 1
Jasmine Gonzalez Crash Report, Page 2
Jasmine Gonzalez Crash Report, Page 3
Jasmine Gonzalez Crash Report, Page 4
The narrative portion of the police report on page 2 indicates the truck pulling the trailer made an unsafe lane change. A large portion of the blame seems to hinge on that point according to the narrative, even though Raul Rios was driving while intoxicated and was charged with a crime at the scene. Because he is 18 and therefore can’t legally drink alcohol, whatever person or bar provided alcohol to him might be considered legally liable for the injuries that happened in the wreck.
If a bar were implicated in a dram shop case related to Rios’s intoxication, it’s likely that they’d say something like “Hey, even the police report says that another vehicle likely caused this crash. How can our illegal alcohol service be the proximate cause of anyone’s injuries?” This is a common mistake that people make when it comes to the law. It likely arises from a misreading of what someone has to prove in a dram shop case.
Someone injured in a dram shop case has to prove:
- A bar served an obviously intoxicated person who was a danger to themselves or others
- That illegal alcohol service was the proximate (most direct) cause that led to the plaintiff’s injuries
In an effort to defend itself in a case like this, a bar would likely say that their illegal alcohol service didn’t cause the injuries in this crash–the truck accused of causing the crash did. The mistake is to assume that there is only one proximate cause for an injury.
Just because someone else’s actions may have caused a crash, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the driver who was hit could have avoided the whole incident if he was sober. That’s how one driver can be charged with making an unsafe lane change that led to a crash, while the other driver faces intoxication assault charges.
–Grossman Law Offices
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