• January 24, 2022

Dawson Gowin Killed in Car Accident on Andrews Highway in Midland, TX

Midland, TX -- January 23, 2022, 21-year-old Dawson Gowin was killed in a rear-end collision on Andrews Highway in Midland.

Authorities say the incident happened around 12:50 a.m. along Andrews Highway at Midland Drive. Preliminary investigation suggests Gowin was traveling east on the highway when for unknown reasons his Ford Crown Victoria crashed into the back of a Lincoln SUV that was stopped at the Midland Drive intersection.

The impact occurred with enough force to crumple the rear of the Lincoln and push it through the intersection. The Ford skidded through the roadway the opposite direction, jumped a curb, and hit a few mailboxes before coming to rest in a parking lot.

Gowin was killed in the collision. The Lincoln driver, later identified as 51-year-old Steven Valles, received minor injuries.

The investigation is ongoing. No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Dawson Gowin Accident on Andrews Hwy in Midland

UPDATE (June 14, 2022): Later reports about this crash say the many who lost his life had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .282. I say that with no judgment and no follow-up lecture about the perils of drunk driving, but knowing that he was significantly over the legal limit may change how the accident should be addressed.

As I previously mentioned, dram shop law holds businesses accountable when they knowingly over-serve their customers. It does so by making them share responsibility for the damage those customers cause or suffer while under the influence of too much alcohol.

There's still no saying whether a business provided the victim his drinks in Midland, but if one was there's virtually no way they couldn't have detected signs of intoxication with a BAC that high. It's a detail that could make a great deal of difference as his family struggles to get back on their feet after a terrible loss. Moreover, any reckless business over-serving its customers needs to get taught a serious lesson about cleaning up its act.

Dawson Gowin Killed in Car Accident on Andrews Highway in Midland, TX

ORIGINAL: Some may see a late-night accident like this and think they know exactly what happened. Typical news-site comment sections fill up with guesswork about driver fatigue, distraction from a cell phone, or in many cases accusations of impairment. All those factors quite commonly cause rear-end crashes like the one in Midland, but as always it's important not to jump to any conclusions while investigators learn more.

For all anyone knows at this point something much less common could have been behind this crash. The victim might have experienced an incapacitating medical episode, his car could have had some kind of brake or mechanical failure, or he could have hit a wet or unstable part of the road that made his vehicle lose traction so it couldn't stop. Those issues may not cause as many accidents as driver errors like speeding or distraction, but they still happen every day all over the world and can't be dismissed outright before they get some attention.

Even if something common like impairment was involved, that would still add complexity to the investigation because it means the alcohol's source should be identified. Why? Because a local business might have illegally over-served the victim, and if so that business may be liable for his crash and injuries under dram shop law.

Ultimately I'm only saying what I always do: It's best not to make any assumptions based on incomplete data. The only way to truly learn what happened here is to conduct a careful and thorough investigation that accounts for all the potential factors. It may be tempting for readers to write this off as "just another case of _______," but that's an irresponsible way to approach an accident that took a young man's life. At the very least, his loved ones deserve to know that every effort was made to get to the heart of the matter. If police don't plan to invest the time or resources to be sure all the answers are found, this wouldn't be the first time an independent investigation was of more use to a grieving family.

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