Donald Martin Jr. Killed in Single-Vehicle Accident on FM 2231 in Stephens County, TX
Stephens County, TX -- October 8, 2021, 30-year-old Donald Martin Jr. was killed in a single-vehicle accident on Farm to Market Road 2231 in Stephens County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 1:25 a.m. on FM 2231 near U.S. Highway 180. Preliminary investigation suggests Martin was driving a Ford F-250 pickup truck south on the roadway when he lost control in a curve. He drove across the center line and then over-corrected to the rid, causing the pickup to enter a side-skid and slide off the roadway to the west. It skidded into the ditch and overturned, then rolled 1.5 times and came to rest on its roof past a nearby barbed-wire fence.
Martin was partially ejected during the accident and the truck came to rest on top of him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Blood tests later revealed Martin was under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time of the crash, with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .144 and signs of marijuana and methamphetamine use in his system.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Donald Martin Jr. Accident on FM 2231 in Stephens County
Whenever reports say that both drugs and alcohol played a role in a crash, it's usually determined that alcohol had a greater effect on the victim's ability to drive. I don't say to downplay the risks of drug use, but scolding the victim or preaching about its risks serve little purpose.
Some may feel impairment is a moot point since the driver's tragic passing means he is beyond the reach of the law, but it's an important issue to investigation to its fullest extent. For instance, if alcohol was the primary intoxicant affecting the driver then it's important to find out where it came from. Why? Because whatever business sold it might be legally responsible for the victim's injuries, and if so may have a legal duty to make whatever amends it can to his loved ones.
The area of the law that applies to alcohol-related crashes is called dram shop law. In a nutshell it says that an alcohol provider who over-serves an obviously intoxicated person may be liable for damages they cause while under the influence. Whether it's a restaurant, a liquor store, a gas station, or even a grocery store, a licensed vendor in Texas has a responsibility to protect its customers and community--mostly from the effects of its own reckless over-service. If such a business served the victim even though he was obviously intoxicated and that contributed to the crash on FM 2231, it should face consequences of its own.
With that said, I'm not pointing fingers at any specific business here. It's not clear if any dram shop violations took place before this accident, and not every DWI crash involves one. All we know is someone was fatally injured and police seem to have confirmed intoxication played a part in that. I think those facts alone warrant consideration that a local business might have been involved. If investigations show that to be true, that business should be held properly accountable.