Alvaro Velasquez Killed in Single-Vehicle Accident on Mesa Drive in Harris County, TX
UPDATE (January 26, 2022): Later reports identify the victim of this accident as 30-year-old Alvaro DeLeon Velasquez.
Harris County, TX -- January 30, 2021, a 29-year-old man was killed in a single-vehicle accident allegedly involving intoxication on Mesa Drive in Harris County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 1:05 a.m. on Mesa near Furay Avenue. Preliminary investigation suggests the driver was in a GMC Terrain SUV headed north in the 12100 block of the roadway when he failed to properly negotiate an "S" curve and left the road to the east. The vehicle entered a side-skid as it left the road and then overturned, rolling multiple times before coming to rest on its driver's side in a ditch south of nearby railroad tracks.
The driver was reportedly not wearing a seat belt and was ejected through the SUV's sunroof. He suffered fatal injuries.
Investigators report that toxicological testing of the driver showed him to have a blood-alcohol level of approximately .157, almost twice the legal limit, at the time of the wreck.
No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Alvaro Velasquez Accident on Mesa Drive in Harris County
It appears blood tests confirmed investigators' belief that intoxication was a factor. If so then the offending driver's tragic death means he is now beyond any legal consequences, but contrary to what some may believe that doesn't mean the case is entirely closed. Before the investigation is really over, someone should also find out where the driver's alcohol came from that night. But why would that matter?
Many people aren't aware of Texas dram shop law, which deals with alcohol vendors and their duty to protect public safety (most from themselves). Essentially, dram shop law says a licensed alcohol provider cannot continue to serve an obviously intoxicated customer or they may be considered responsible for damages that customer causes--even to himself. In the context of the crash on Mesa Drive, any business that poured too many drinks for that driver beforehand may be liable for his fatal injuries.
At this time it's not clear if this crash involves a dram shop violation. For a start, a customer must have been obviously intoxicated and then served more alcohol by a vendor. It's unknown if that was the situation or even if the driver drank somewhere besides his own home that night. It's more than worth investigating, though, to find out if any bad actors should be held accountable.
If authorities were a little more proactive in pursuing consequences against alcohol providers, the public would likely be better informed of their rights after a crash like this. Harris County officials do better about looking into these violations than many jurisdictions do, but that's mostly because Houston and its surrounding cities and suburbs consistently lead the board in Texas for alcohol-related crashes. Let's hope the officials take the time to look into dram shop issues in this matter as well, but much as it pains me to say so I wouldn't be on it. After crashes like these where a negligent business might be involved I often recommend working with independent investigators who know what to look for and have the time and training to find it. Too many bad bars get away with over-service because the police don't chase them down and people aren't aware they have to right to confront those bars in court.