• January 27, 2022

Jorge Perez, One Other Injured in Auto Accident on US-57 in Frio County, TX

Frio County, TX -- January 1, 2021, 56-year-old Jorge Perez and a 30-year-old man were seriously injured in a traffic collision on U.S. Highway 57 in Frio County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 3:30 a.m. on US-57 near mile marker 456. Preliminary investigation suggests a Jeep Cherokee was traveling south on the highway as Perez was driving a Kia Rio north on the other side of the road, which was reportedly dark with no streetlights and surrounded by ranches.

According to police the Jeep driver was under the influence of alcohol and failed to maintain a single lane. The Jeep crossed over the center lines into the northbound lane where it collided with the Kia's front-left quarter. Both vehicles rebounded in different directions and came to rest a short distance from the impact site.

Perez and the Jeep driver both suffered incapacitating injuries in the collision. Three passengers in the Kia reportedly received minor injuries.

Due to the extent of the Jeep driver's injuries police did not collect samples for testing, instead noting a plan to subpoena his hospital treatment records to see if intoxication played a part in the crash.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Jorge Perez Accident on US-57 in Frio County

If the alleged DWI driver's treatment records confirm alcohol consumption was a factor as suspected, he may face some legal consequences for his decisions that night (in addition to mentioned citations for driving without a license or insurance). However, he'll have his day in court to settle matters with the state and in the meantime I don't want to speculate about his fate.

Instead, I want to note that the crossover driver may not be the only one who should face scrutiny and/or consequences. There's also the matter of where his drinks came from. But why would that detail matter? Let me introduce you to dram shop law and its applications after DWI crashes.

Jorge Perez, One Other Injured in Auto Accident on US-57 in Frio County, TX

Dram shop law broadens the scope of alcohol-related wrecks beyond DWI drivers to include the businesses that often over-serve them. Under the law a licensed alcohol vendor (a bar, restaurant, liquor store, convenience store, nightclub, etc) that sells or serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated customer may then be legally responsible for any injuries that customer goes on to suffer or cause while under the influence. If it's determined that business served the crossover driver in Frio County past the point when they knew they should cut him off, it may then have a legal duty to help everyone injured in that crash.

Some may see this as a lawyer just trying to find someone to sue, but that's not the point. I talk about dram shop law on this blog to try and make sure those who need it know it even exists. Too many people believe they're alone in facing all the challenges of recovery. Not enough are aware that a bar could be liable after an incident like this because law enforcement rarely pursues such negligent businesses--even when they break the law with over-service and innocent people pay the price.

Considering the harsh but necessary punishments dealt out to impaired drivers, it seems only right that the establishments who put them in that state also be held properly accountable. In the process, it seems equally just that they honor their obligation to help the victims of their recklessness get back on their feet.

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