Johnnie Cope Killed, Corey Kothenbeutel, 2 Injured in Car Accident in Garza County, TX
Garza County, TX -- January 17, 2022, Johnnie Cope was killed and Corey Kothenbeutel and two others were injured due to a possible drunk driving accident.
Investigators reported that the crash took place at around 4:00 a.m. along US 84 near mile marker 376.
In their reports, officials said that 31-year-old Corey Kothenbeutel was driving a Dodge Ram eastbound along the highway. 31-year-old Johnnie Cope was a passenger in the Dodge. Kothenbeutel told authorities that he fell asleep at the wheel, causing the vehicle to lose control, hit a guardrail, and overturn.
Due to the crash, Cope sustained fatal injuries. Kothenbeutel and two other passengers had reportedly incapacitating injuries. Authorities said that Kothenbeutel may have been under the influence of alcohol at the time, but they did not confirm this. Investigations are ongoing.
Commentary on Johnnie Cope, Corey Kothenbeutel Car Accident in Garza County
It's important to keep in mind that authorities did not confirm alcohol as a factor here. It's possible they only brought it up because it's a common factor that almost always gets attention after a crash like this. Now, if evidence shows that alcohol was a factor here, then there could be complex factors the victims and families need to know about.
This is due to dram shop law, which says that an alcohol provider who over-serves an obviously intoxicated person can be liable for damages resulting from that intoxication. If it turns out a negligent bar or some other similar establishment contributed to this, it would be irresponsible not to take steps to hold them accountable and ensure the victims and families have an opportunity to get the help they need.
Again, that's just a possibility for now, and I only bring it up because it's not the kind of thing authorities tend to look into on their own. It's as important to look into dram shop as it is the apparent fatigue and other possibilities such as mechanical issues or faulty safety devices. At the end of the day, what matters now is getting folks the answers they deserve.