Laurel Grant, Isaac Gonzales, Linsi Gonzalez, Maria Vences, Juvencia Vences, 2 Injured in Alleged DWI Accident in Bell County, TX
UPDATE (September 13, 2022): Details released by authorities identified others hurt in the crash. They were the occupants of the Dodge Journey, 24-year-old Isaac Gonzales, 21-year-old Linsi Gonzalez, 54-year-old Maria Vences, and 86-year-old Juvencia Vences. Additional details about the crash remain unavailable.
Bell County, TX -- January 28, 2022, Laurel Grant and six others were injured following an accident which involved an allegedly intoxicated driver.
Investigators reported that the crash took place at around 5:38 p.m. along Highway 95.
Officials said that 59-year-old Laurel Grant was in a Kia Soul traveling southbound on the highway. from oncoming lanes, a Chevy Traverse reportedly driven by Matthew Wernecke crossed into southbound lanes and hit the Kia. A Dodge Journey then hit the Chevy.
As a result of the crash, Grant and three people in the Dodge had incapacitating injuries. Three others in the Dodge had less severe injuries.
Police say that Wernecke was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash and charged him of with DWI. No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Laurel Grant, Isaac Gonzales, Linsi Gonzalez, Maria Vences, Juvencia Vences Alleged DWI Accident in Bell County
If the allegations here are true, then it shouldn't surprise anyone if there are serious consequences for the actions leading up to the crash. However, it would probably surprise folks to hear that someone other than the allegedly drunk driver was facing those consequences. Who else could be at fault? Well, there is the possibility that the alcohol provider that served the driver is also liable for the victims' injuries, and they can be held accountable for their role in the accident.
This is called dram shop law, and it says that an alcohol provider who over-serves an obviously intoxicated person can be liable for damages resulting from that intoxication. Here's how it basically works. I had this case not long ago where a man crashed into oncoming traffic on his way home after drinking at a local happy hour. When we looked into things, it was clear that the bar recklessly over-served the man despite the fact he was a clear danger to himself and others due to his intoxication. That evidence showed that the establishment contributed to the resulting crash, and they were liable under dram shop for doing so.
I'm not saying that happened here, but Texas has about as big a problem with negligent alcohol providers as it does with drunk drivers in general. Dram shop is one way to help address this problem while also getting people some much needed help that may not otherwise be available to them. Are steps being taken here to look into those possibilities?