• February 11, 2019

UPDATE: Jan Wilson Hillyer Injured in Montgomery County, TX, Single-Vehicle Accident

UPDATE (February 26, 2019): The Texas Department of Transportation identified the woman as 58-year-old Jan Wilson Hillyer. The investigating officer listed Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol as a contributing factor in the crash. Additional details are unclear at this time. The TxDOT report is available in the Commentary below.

Montgomery County, TX -- February 10, 2019, a woman sustained injuries as the result of a single-vehicle accident at US Highway 59.

Officials responded to the accident scene at around 11:00 p.m. They say the crash occurred at US 59 and McCleskey Road, next to Forest Retreat RV Park.

In their reports, investigators said that an unidentified woman was driving a vehicle along McCleskey at the time. At the intersection, witnesses say her vehicle did not stop at the stop sign and ran across lanes of US 59. In doing so, the car crashed into the concrete barricade on the median and overturned.

The woman in the car was taken to a local hospital for treatment of her injuries. It appears no one else was injured in the crash.

Police continue to investigate the factors leading up to the crash.

Map of the Area

Commentary

UPDATE (February 26, 2019): Since the report mentions alcohol as a factor, it's worth addressing Dram Shop in more detail. When I mention that drunk drivers who get hurt in a crash are able to hold a bar accountable, people sometimes turn the nose up at the idea. They believe it allows people who drank too much to benefit from driving drunk, but the truth is that the drunk driver's culpability is weighed against the actions of the alcohol provider.

Jan Wilson Hillyer Accident Report

For instance, we've litigated a couple of cases where bars literally served people to death. In one instance, the staff propped up the drunk and helped pour drinks in his mouth. This is against the law and so far beyond the pale of acceptable behavior that these bars deserve to be held accountable for their irresponsible behavior.

That's what Dram Shop Law does. It exists to punish the alcohol providers for their actions, even when the person hurt is the person who was intoxicated. Now I'm not saying this particular incident is as shocking as the above example, but it still warrants more thorough investigations to determine how all this could have been avoided.

ORIGINAL: While there still needs to be a more thorough investigation into what happened here, it would be irresponsible not to consider the possibility that alcohol contributed to the accident. If it's true the vehicle simply disregarded a stop sign and crashed into a barricade, a late night crash with those details often ends up involving drunk drivers. But I don't bring this up to tarnish the driver's reputation. What I want to address is the little understood area of personal injury law, Dram Shop.

According to Texas law, it is illegal for an alcohol provider to over-serve an obviously intoxicated customer. If they do, and that customer's intoxication causes an accident, the alcohol provider may be held civilly liable for contributing to the accident. Just as drunk drivers face consequences for their actions, the law provides an avenue through which victims and families may hold negligent alcohol providers accountable for theirs.

The fact of the matter is reckless establishments put our local communities in danger, and allowing them to get away with their actions only succeeds in perpetuating such behavior. It's important that whenever victims utilize these laws whenever possible so that all those who contribute to the accident have a chance to answer for their actions.

--Grossman Law Offices

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