Joani Ortiz-Carrazco Killed, Three Injured in Single-Vehicle Accident on TX-15 in Hansford County
Hansford County, TX -- February 28, 2022, 30-year-old Joani Ortiz-Carrazco was killed and three people were injured in a rollover crash on State Highway 15 in Hansford County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 8:50 p.m. on eastbound TX-15 near mile marker 332 and the town of Spearman. Preliminary investigation suggests Ortiz-Carrazco was driving east on the roadway when he lost control in a curve. The car left the road to the south and Ortiz-Carrazco over-corrected, causing the car to side skid and overturn. It rolled multiple times before coming to rest.
Ortiz-Carrazco was ejected during the rollover and suffered fatal injuries. Three passengers in the car, later identified as 47-year-old Raul Carrazco, 31-year-old Daniela Guardiola, and a 5-year-old girl, were transported to an area hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. Raul Carrazco's injuries were described in reports as serious.
The crash remains under investigation. No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Joani Ortiz-Carrazco Accident on TX-15 in Hansford County
UPDATE (April 13, 2022): Later reports indicate the injured driver in this accident had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .25 at the time of the crash, over three times the legal limit. I don't say that with any judgment or to cause extra grief to his family or the other victims in that vehicle, but knowing that a significant level of intoxication was a factor may change how the accident should be addressed going forward.
As I mentioned previously, alcohol-related crashes sometimes involve holding the businesses that over-serve it to obviously intoxicated customers responsible for the damage those customers cause or suffer while under the influence. Under dram shop law any business that over-served the driver who crashed may have a legal duty to make what amends it can to the victims and their families after the terrible wreck on Highway 15.
Unfortunately, bad bars and dram violations often receive little attention from police. That's why if something like that is suspected it's probably best for the victims to seek help from independent investigators who know what evidence to look for and how to get it. Armed with receipts, witness statements, camera footage, and other evidence, many people hurt by negligent over-service have held bars and other businesses accountable for the damage done by their recklessness.
ORIGINAL: With single-vehicle wrecks like this, it's important to make sure authorities actually give it the careful attention it deserves. They have an unfortunate tendency to jump to conclusions, lean toward common explanations while ignoring less-common possibilities, overlook or omit important details in their reports, or otherwise move on before they've really discovered the whole story.
For example: If investigators suspected impairment played a part in this crash, there's a significant chance they would overlook where the alcohol came from. Why does that matter? Well, alcohol providers like bars or restaurants may be legally responsible for an accident and resulting injuries if it's found their over-service helped cause it. It's an important issue for victims and families to be aware of, but it's often overlooked in a "by the book" investigation.
However, there's no specific reason to be sure alcohol was behind the wreck in Hansford County. Many other possible explanations also deserve careful consideration, yet I wonder if some of them will be ignored because they're less common than things like speeding or distraction. Mechanical issues in the vehicle, tire defects, roadway hazards, poor visibility, other vehicles that left the scene--these are all things authorities don't often look into if they fixate only on common explanations. A prudent investigation wouldn't overlook those common possibilities, but it would also take steps to rule out or otherwise confirm factors that are less common. Were those steps taken here, or is this yet another serious crash that would be better off in the hands of independent professionals?