• May 11, 2021

Two Adults, Five Children Injured in Wrong-Way Crash on 7th Street in Texarkana, TX

UPDATE (October 20, 2021): Recent reports indicate the wrong-way driver responsible for this accident, identified as 41-year-old David Howard, was recently indicted by a Bowie County grand jury for intoxication assault and felony DWI in relation to this crash.

The same reports also indicate that Howard was tested for intoxication after the crash. Test results revealed his blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) to be approximately .232%, almost triple the legal limit of .08%.

Texarkana, TX -- March 29, 2021, seven people were injured when a wrong-way driver collided with an SUV on West 7th Street in Texarkana.

Authorities say the incident happened around 5:50 p.m. on 7th Street (U.S. Highway 67) near Congress Street. Preliminary investigation suggests that a Ford F-150 pickup truck was traveling west in the road's eastbound lanes, against the flow of traffic, when it collided head-on with a GMC Yukon SUV near Congress.

The Ford driver received serious injuries in the crash and was airlifted from the scene to an area hospital. The six occupants of the SUV, a 26-year-old woman and five children all under 10 years of age, received minor injuries and were also taken to a hospital.

Investigators reportedly detected a strong smell of alcohol emanating from the suspect at the scene but were unable to interview him due to the extent of his injuries.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Wrong-Way Accident on US-67 in Texarkana

UPDATE (October 20, 2021): Given the information conveyed in recent reports about the level of intoxication the wrong-way driver reportedly faced, me of my previous comments in March seem more applicable than ever. There's still no guarantee that the suspect drank to that degree of intoxication at a local business, but the possibility needs further investigation in case a bar or restaurant was comfortable serving him to the point of near-unconsciousness. There is a reason .08 is considered the legal limit of intoxication for safe operation of a motor vehicle, and some states feel even that amount is pushing it.

I am aware that some people think it's not a business's job to babysit its customers or refuse to help them make poor choices, and that's true. It's not their job, it's their obligation under the law. Nevertheless, many businesses seem to regard those laws more as "polite suggestions" and serve their customers to their drunken hearts' content. That reckless behavior is often followed by the customer wobbling out to a car and causing the kind of mayhem we saw in Texarkana--though often the damage is far worse and more permanent.

I'm not saying that drunk drivers shouldn't be held accountable for their actions. However, considering the serious punishments they generally face in the legal system it seems only fitting that the businesses who helped them get so out of control should face consequences as well.

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ORIGINAL: Any time police bring up alcohol it's likely to raise some eyebrows. Of course an officer inferring that intoxication was a factor doesn't necessarily mean they were right, and I wouldn't ever presume to draw such a conclusion without clear evidence. I'm not suggesting law enforcement fumbled the ball on that point considering the injured suspect's traumatic injuries; I only mean that it's never safe to decide something was a factor until objective proof backs that up. That means until something more concrete like blood test results are available, intoxication is only a theory with respect to this incident. With that said, though, it's worth shining some light on what that could theoretically mean for the victims of this accident--including the suspect himself.

In Texas, dram shop law says that an alcohol provider who over-serves an obviously intoxicated person may be liable for damages resulting from that intoxication. That means bars, clubs, restaurants, liquor stores, gas stations, and even grocery stores may be considered responsible for the damages caused or suffered by a drunk driver if they ignored their legal responsibilities and served that person after they should have cut him off.

With no apparent testing conducted on the driver in this crash there's no way to say whether alcohol truly was a factor, let alone whether a business broke the law with over-service. I'm not pointing any accusatory fingers in the meantime. I bring up dram shop law because too few people realize they have the right to confront a negligent business after they're hurt by its over-service. It's a useful area of the law that lend a helping hand to victims as they struggle to regain their feet.

So will the authorities do anything to confirm or disprove whether impairment was a relevant factor here, or is this yet another crash that would benefit from involving an independent investigator who knows how to find more answers?

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