One Killed, One Injured by Alleged Teen DWI Driver on Park St in Laredo, TX
Laredo, TX -- December 25, 2021, one person was killed and another was injured in a crash with an alleged DWI driver on Park Street in Laredo.
Authorities say the incident happened on Christmas Day on the 800 block of Park Street. Preliminary investigation suggests a 15-year-old driver allegedly ran a red light and crashed into the victims' van.
The van's driver and passenger were airlifted from the scene to a San Antonio hospital where the passenger later died.
The teen driver was charged with intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault. Recent reports say he was indicted as an adult.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Alleged DWI Accident on Park Street in Laredo
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 victims and their families. However, that could be addressed another way: The driver may not be the only one legally responsible for the injuries caused in Laredo.
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 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.
Obviously there's also the issue of the allegedly-intoxicated suspect being under the age of 21, which could mean any place that served him would automatically be on the hook for the damage he caused and suffered in the crash. Texas is a zero tolerance state, meaning that any business who helps a minor get intoxicated--even if they can't tell he was past his limits--may be liable for any injuries he causes or suffers.
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. Will authorities do that in order to protect their community from a bar's recklessness, or should independent investigators look closer at this incident?