Peggy Ranes Injured in Car Accident on TX-155 in Smith County
Smith County, TX -- April 8, 2021, 58-year-old Peggy Annette Ranes was injured in a traffic collision on State Highway 155 in Smith County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 8:00 p.m. on TX-155 near County Road 2661. Preliminary investigation suggests a Hyundai Sonata was traveling south in the highway's right lane and reportedly did not have its lights on as required. Witnesses also told police the Sonata was traveling at high speeds on the roadway.
Ahead, Ranes pulled her Hyundai Veloster out of a business parking lot into the left southbound lane of the highway. As Ranes began to accelerate the Sonata collided with the Veloster's rear right quarter. The impact pushed the SUV through the northbound lanes it came to rest in the east barrow ditch.
Ranes suffered serious injuries in the crash. The Sonata driver was reportedly unhurt.
Investigators determined that the Sonata driver had consumed alcohol prior to the accident. He was cited for failure to control speed and driving without lights on.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Peggy Ranes Accident on TX-155 in Smith County
Some may see that the suspect was charged and consider that more or less the end of the matter. However, in Texas alcohol-related crashes aren't always solely the driver's fault. It's possible there's an outside party, an "accomplice" of sorts, who bears responsibility for their contributions to the crash. That outside party is the business that sold or served alcohol to the driver.
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. For example, I had a case not long ago where a man turned into oncoming traffic after getting dangerously intoxicated at a local restaurant. In his highly impaired state, he caused a devastating collision. We investigated the situation on the victims' behalf and found clear evidence that the restaurant happily over-served the man until he could barely walk, let alone operate a vehicle safely. It was obvious that the restaurant's recklessness had made him a clear danger to himself and others, so the law allowed the crash victims and their families to pursue dram shop claims against the establishment.
Dram shop law punishes alcohol providers who might otherwise not face consequences despite being instrumental in DWI accidents. Additionally--and more importantly--dram shop law can provide badly-needed assistance to DWI crash victims and their families. It is unquestionably a difficult battle to resume a normal life after such incidents, and it's only fair that the parties responsible for forever altering people's lives help get them back on track.
Having said all that, I want to stress that police only mentioned the driver had been drinking as almost an afterthought. While they noted alcohol as possibly contributing, their convictions weren't strong enough to say it definitely did, or even to take any samples for testing if reports are accurate. We can't be sure at this point if alcohol was a significant factor, let alone whether any business over-served it to the suspect. Dram shop may not apply--only time will tell--but in many cases it could have provided a badly-needed avenue of assistance to victims who never even knew they had those rights.