• September 20, 2021

Kandy Duarte-Cassiano Killed, Several Injured in Multi-Vehicle Accident on I-10 in El Paso, TX

UPDATE (February 3, 2022): Several other people injured in this pileup accident were identified in later investigative reports. Driving the Ford Focus that initially crashed was 24-year-old Ericka Carmona. 29-year-old Mercedes Soto was driving the Honda Civic that previous reports say first rear-ended Rubina Galvan's pickup truck, triggering a chain reaction that also involved Kandy Duarte-Cassiano's Nissan Sentra. The 21-year-old driver of the second Silverado pickup was not identified.

Ericka Carmona and Mercedes Soto reportedly suffered serious injuries in the crash. Investigators noted that all drivers except Rubina Galvan were suspected of being intoxicated.

El Paso, TX -- September 19, 2021, 27-year-old Kandy Abigail Duarte-Cassiano was killed in a five-vehicle accident on Interstate 10 in East El Paso.

Authorities say the incident happened around 2:00 a.m. along I-10 West near the Fountains at Farah. Preliminary investigation suggests a Ford Focus was westbound on the roadway when the driver lost control and crashed into a cement barrier. A Chevrolet Silverado driven by 31-year old Rubina Galvan stopped on the freeway when approaching the crashed Ford, at which point a Honda Civic rear-ended the pickup. That crash was followed by several others including Duarte-Cassiano's Nissan Sentra crashing into the growing pileup. Her vehicle was then t-boned by another Chevy Silverado truck.

Duarte-Cassiano was pronounced dead at the scene. It is unclear if anyone else was injured.

The crash is still under investigation. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Kandy Duarte-Cassiano Accident on I-10 in El Paso

UPDATE (February 3, 2022): It seems investigators think that multiple drivers involved in this pileup were intoxicated at the time. Given that it all went down right at closing time early on a Sunday morning (or "very late on a Saturday night" depending on perspective), that seems like a reasonable suspicion.

If alcohol really is considered a main element in the wreck then it's important to find out where the drinks came from--for each and every one of those drivers. Why chase down that detail? Because if any or all of them were served past their limits then the bars who did so may be liable for the damage done on Interstate 10. Texas dram shop law says that a licensed alcohol vendor that sells or serves drinks to an obviously intoxicated customer may then be responsible for any damage that customer causes or suffers while under the influence.

Liability would be quite a tangled web to unweave in this situation, but those affected deserve to know that everyone responsible--including any local businesses who got too frisky with their service--will be held properly accountable. Dram shop claims help ensure those businesses stay honest and obey the law, keeping communities safe. If people can get some much-needed help with their recovery in the process, even better.

Kandy Duarte-Cassiano Killed in Multi-Vehicle Accident on I-10 in El Paso, TX

ORIGINAL: This certainly sounds like a chaotic scene and it's important to learn as much as possible about its cause and circumstances. I just hope law enforcement is up to the task.

I don't mean that as an insult to their work. People may just not realize that traffic investigations don't always receive much of a department's limited resources. Because of that many crash scenes are quickly examined before a "best guess" is recorded and the file is closed. Unless someone looks closer in search of clearer answers, that guess essentially becomes their final word on the matter even if critical details might have been overlooked or evidence was lost. That's highly problematic when trying to help victims and their families in the aftermath of these incidents.

To be clear, I'm not saying police will mishandle this investigation--nor am I saying one way or the other what exactly happened in any of the connected crashes on I-10. It could easily have been a combination of multiple causes like vehicular failure, driver distraction, fatigue, impairment, someone having a medical issue, a tire blowout, or a dozen other possibilities. Each must be considered and ruled out in pursuit of the truth behind the wreck. A careful investigation is always necessary to ensure vital clues aren't overlooked, and every scrap of evidence is usually needed to ensure the right parties are held accountable.

Unfortunately police can't or don't always properly evaluate all the complexities of a crash like this, so I often advise victims and their families to work instead with independent experts who have the tools, training, and time to make sure every important bit of data is found. Such an investigation may find or confirm a simple explanation for the events on I-10, but only once every avenue has been explored can that be said for sure. When all the facts are in, any further steps can be determined.

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