• January 18, 2022

Lillian Dawn Thornburgh Killed in Alleged Intoxicated Driving Accident in Tyler, TX

UPDATE (May 23, 2022): Reports now say that Jason Charles has been indicted on charges of intoxicated manslaughter.

UPDATE (March 17, 2022): Recent reports allege that Jason Charles had a .251 BAC following the crash. No further information is available at this time.

UPDATE (January 26, 2022): Reports confirmed that Lillian Dawn Thornburgh succumbed to her injuries due to the accident. Authorities now say that Jason Charles will face an intoxication manslaughter charge. Investigations into the allegations of drunk driving are ongoing.

Tyler, TX -- January 14, 2022, Lillian Dawn Thornburgh was injured due to an accident involving an allegedly intoxicated driver.

Authorities reported that the crash took place at around 10:52 p.m. along South Broadway Avenue in the area of Wilma Street.

In their reports, officials said that Lillian Dawn Thornburgh was in a pickup when a collision with another pickup occurred. Due to the collision, Thornburgh reportedly went to a hospital with serious injuries.

Police allege that the other driver, identified as Jason Charles, was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Charles faces a charge for Intoxication Assault. Additional details are unavailable at this time.

Commentary on Lillian Dawn Thornburgh Alleged Intoxicated Driving Accident in Tyler

UPDATE (November 14, 2022): In recent reports, authorities say they may be charging the bar which they say over-served the alleged drunk driver involved in the death of Lillian Dawn Thornburgh. If true, that is certainly a positive step forward I don't often see authorities taking. As I mentioned below, there can be consequences under dram shop law for those businesses that over-serve customers and contribute to deadly wrecks. It's important those opportunities are considered alongside administrative and criminal proceedings. The latter don't always do enough on their own to truly get a business to clean up its act. Are those investigations happening here?

UPDATE (March 17, 2022): The more that authorities release about this accident, the worse things seem. If the allegations here are true, it's not simply that alcohol contributed to the crash. A .251 BAC is just over three times the legal limit. If someone walks out of a bar at that level of intoxication, it is virtually guaranteed that bar broke the law. I can't say if that's exactly what happened here, but I continue to wonder if the proper steps are being taken to hold the right people accountable for this awful event.

UPDATE (January 26, 2022): In recent reports, officers named an establishment at which they say the allegedly drunk driver admitted to getting drinks. If that's true, it's why I discussed dram shop law at length below. If a local establishment puts its business over the law and over the safety of others, then they need to be held accountable for their actions. Looking at the bar named in news reports, TABC public records show they've been investigated by the TABC for various allegations over the last two years. While those don't necessarily mean agents found evidence of wrongdoing in those cases or certainly not this particular accident, there are enough red flags here that it would be irresponsible not to take every possible step to find out who all played a role in a family's world being turned upside down.

Lillian Dawn Thornburgh Alleged Intoxicated Driving Accident Tyler, TX

ORIGINAL: If the allegations here are true, then it's not surprising to see authorities taking steps to hold someone accountable for this awful event. But are those efforts really enough? Depending on what exactly led to the driver being intoxicated, there could be additional factors surrounding this that need to be addressed. My concern is the authorities may simply put all of their focus on one person rather than actually take steps to get the victims and families involved the full story they deserve.

Here's why I say this. Late at night, an intoxicated driving accident often happens as someone is on their way home after a night out drinking. If evidence shows that the establishment that served that driver did so illegally, then that business could also face consequences for contributing to the accident. It's illegal to over-serve someone who is obviously intoxicated. If an establishment does so, the victims and families harmed by that person's intoxication can hold the negligent establishment liable for that harm. Not only is this a vital tool for getting folks some much needed help, it's also a way to make sure negligent businesses are held accountable where they would otherwise simply continue business as usual, likely continuing to put lives at risk through their reckless behavior.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying dram shop is definitely a factor here. Initial reports don't even specify if drugs or alcohol contributed to the crash. I bring this up because I've had hundreds of families come to me about similar accidents, and rarely if ever did they know about things like dram shop before they talked to me or read one of my blogs. Put simply, folks justifiably want the same thing after a serious crash like this: accountability. Police seem to be taking steps to ensure an intoxicated driver has their day in court. Are similar efforts being made to see that some local establishment that profited off of this devastating event will also answer for their actions?

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