16-Year-Old Seriously Injured in Alleged DWI Crash on CR 325 in Hale County, TX
Hale County, TX -- August 22, 2021, a 16-year-old boy was seriously injured by an alleged DWI driver in a crash on County Road 325 in Hale County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 3:30 a.m. on CR 325 near County Road M. Preliminary investigation suggests a 17-year-old male was driving a Ford F-Series pickup truck west on the roadway as he attempted to evade a traffic stop performed by an Abernathy PD officer. The pickup was traveling at unsafe speeds for the dirt roadway, which was eroded by recent rainfall. The driver lost control and ran off the road to the south, passing through the ditch and hitting a dirt berm and a fence. The pickup then overturned and barrel-rolled, coming to a rest on a fence and guardrail covering a culvert.
The truck's front-seat passenger was ejected during the rollover and suffered severe injuries. The truck's driver reportedly received minor injuries.
Investigators administered field tests and a breathalyzer to the teen driver and determined his blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) was approximately .125. He was charged with DWI.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Alleged DWI Crash on CR 325 in Hale County
Police were apparently able to confirm with reasonable certainty that the suspect was intoxicated by alcohol at the time of the accident. Breathalyzer tests have a higher margin of error than blood tests, but even with that in mind the suspect likely exceeded the legal limit of .08%. While I don't want to speculate about the driver's motives for initially trying to evade a traffic stop, he would be far from the first to try and flee after a little too much "liquid courage."
With the probable cause of the crash identified and the suspect charged some may feel that more or less closes the matter. However, criminal consequences do little to help with the difficult aftermath faced by the crash's injured victim. However, that may be addressed in a manner some people don't realize: The driver may not be the only one legally responsible for the injuries caused on CR 325.
Many people don't know about Texas dram shop law or how it applies to these situations. Dram shop law says that licensed alcohol providers like bars, restaurants, or liquor stores may not serve or sell alcohol to obviously intoxicated customers. If they do, the law may consider them liable for injuries caused or suffered by those customers while they are under the influence. That means if any bar or restaurant served the suspect too many drinks before he drove, they might have a legal obligation to help make things right for the people he hurt.
It's important to follow that by saying not every DWI crash involves such a violation. For instance, if the driver drank at home or a friend's house prior to driving then it's unlikely any business would then be liable for the injuries suffered in the wreck. However, the possibility that a business not only over-served a customer but also served someone under 21 certainly bears looking into as any business doing so should be strongly "encouraged" to knock it off. So will authorities look into that possibility here, or should the injured victims work with independent investigators to get results?