Four Injured in Crash on Enrique Barrera Parkway in San Antonio, TX
San Antonio, TX -- June 7, 2021, four people were injured in a traffic collision on Enrique M. Barrera Parkway in San Antonio.
Authorities say the incident happened around 7:00 p.m. on the parkway near San Ignacio Avenue. Preliminary investigation and a statement from 41-year-old Michelle Herrera, one of the drivers involved in the crash, suggest she was driving a Dodge Durango SUV west on Barrera Pkwy when she saw a Toyota RAV4 SUV fail to stop at the sign on northbound San Ignacio. The Toyota then crossed through both eastbound lanes of the parkway and crashed into the Durango. Another witness confirmed Herrera's statement and added he saw the other driver consume alcohol while attempting to drive across the lanes of the parkway.
Herrera and two juvenile passengers in the Durango received minor injuries in the crash. The other driver reportedly suffered serious injuries.
Police drew blood from the Toyota driver for toxicological testing and charged him for driving without a license or insurance pending test results.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Michelle Herrera Accident on Enrique Barrera Pkwy in San Antonio
Given the described circumstances of the crash, the suspect's reported inability to give a statement due to slurred speech, and a witness's statement that the suspect was drinking while operating his vehicle, it seems like alcohol will be considered a primary contributing element in the crash. That may lead to some additional criminal charges if blood tests confirm it. However, the driver's fate in the criminal justice system isn't for me to speculate on.
Instead I want to point out that other parties may also have a share of the responsibility for this wreck. Many drunk drivers have "accomplices" of sorts that too often escape accountability after DWI crashes. If alcohol was largely responsible for the crash, police should also find out where that alcohol came from. Why? Because Texas is one of several states with dram shop laws designed to hold bars, restaurants, and other alcohol vendors liable if they sell or serve drinks to people who are already drunk.
A licensed alcohol vendor has a duty to protect public safety by ceasing or refusing sales or service of alcohol to people who are obviously intoxicated. If an alcohol-selling business can see their customer is drunk and gives them more anyway, that business may then be legally responsible for any injuries that person goes on to inflict or receive. In the crash above, any place that over-served the suspect may now be responsible for helping him and the other injured victims with their recovery.
Some may wonder if the driver drinking in his car means a dram shop violation couldn't have occurred. While it's true it's not exactly the same thing as being over-served on a barstool, the suspect still could have purchased the drinks at a store while already intoxicated. If a store employee knowingly and willingly rang him up despite him being obviously intoxicated, that store would then have committed a dram shop violation.
To be clear, I'm not accusing any businesses of being complicit in the damage done on Barrera Parkway. Dram shop law is an important element to investigate when these crashes happen, both because it offers injured victims an avenue to get help and because it holds negligent businesses responsible for endangering the public. So will the police look into that issue, or is this yet another case where injured victims would be best served by working with independent investigators?