• February 28, 2022

Devin Smith Killed, Mitchell Williams Injured in Single-Vehicle Crash on FM 2517 near Carthage, TX

Panola County, TX -- February 26, 2022, 18-year-olds Devin Smith and Mitchell Williams were injured in a single-vehicle accident on Farm to Market Road 2517 near Carthage.

Authorities say the incident happened shortly before midnight along FM 2517 near County Road 401, southeast of town. Preliminary investigation suggests Williams was driving a Chevrolet Cobalt east on the roadway at allegedly unsafe speeds when the car hydroplaned on the wet roadway. It slid off the road into the south ditch, then spun around and crashed into a tree with its passenger side.

Devin Smith suffered fatal injuries in the crash. Williams received serious injuries and was transported to a Carthage hospital.

Investigators noted Williams was found to have been intoxicated at the time of the crash.

The crash remains under investigation. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Devin Smith, Mitchell Williams Accident on FM 2517 in Panola County

This is obviously a tragic situation, and it seems from reports that authorities are taking steps to see there are consequences. It's not my place to discuss or speculate about any potential charges involved, but depending on how accurate the impairment allegations are it's quite possible someone besides the driver should be held accountable for the damage done. With that in mind, it's important to learn where the allegedly-drunk driver got his alcohol.

Devin Smith Dies, Mitchell Williams Injured in Single-Vehicle Crash on FM 2517 near Carthage, TX

Unfortunately there are many ways an underage person can get alcohol. A primary concern, then, is that someone knowingly and willingly gave it to them. That could be an adult they know or, far more concerning, a local business that sold it to them without checking ID. What makes a situation like that unique is that the responsible provider may be in trouble both for serving alcohol to a minor and for its role in the accident itself. Texas dram shop law says that if a licensed alcohol vendor sells or serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated customer, and that customer then hurts himself or someone else, the alcohol provider may be liable for their role in the accident.

If nothing else, there are people devastated by this accident who deserve the full story. If that story ultimately includes a local business looking the other way for some young men purchasing alcohol--particularly if they were already under the influence--then it must be confronted and held accountable or it won't change its ways.

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