• March 28, 2022

Ann and Sederick Barrett Killed in Accident on Westheimer Road in Houston, TX

Houston, TX -- March 27, 2022, married couple Ann and Sederick Barrett were struck and killed by a speeding vehicle on Westheimer Road in Houston.

Authorities say the incident happened around 9:20 p.m. on the 6100 block of Westheimer near Greenridge Drive. Preliminary investigation suggests that Ann and Sederick Barrett were crossing the street to reach their parked vehicle and allegedly were not in a crosswalk when they were hit by a vehicle in the roadway. Investigators believe the car was traveling at least twice the speed limit of 35mph at the time of the collision.

Ann Barrett, 48, and Sederick Barrett, 53, were pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver, later identified as Donovan Harris, remained after the crash and cooperated with police, who reported he appeared to be impaired. He was charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Ann and Sederick Barrett Accident on Westheimer Rd in Houston

The suspect in this crash reportedly faces some very serious charges, but I don't write this blog to criticize or judge drivers suspected of intoxication. Their alleged crimes and the related consequences are a matter for the courts and the suspect will have his day in one to answer for his choices.

Rather than speculate about his potential fate in the justice system, I feel it's more important to talk about what can be done for those harmed by the crash--particularly the devastated family of the couple whose lives were claimed. If intoxication really played a major part in this tragedy, the people affected by it should be aware the man at the wheel may not be the only one to hold accountable due to Texas dram shop law.

Ann and Sederick Barrett Killed in Accident on Westheimer Road in Houston, TX

Essentially dram shop law says that a licensed alcohol provider who over-serves an obviously intoxicated person may be liable for damages resulting from that intoxication. That means bars, restaurants, liquor stores, and other establishments can be held legally responsible when they keep pouring drinks for customers who then cause accidents like this one. Not only does dram shop law help victims and families get back on their feet after such harmful experiences, it's also a way to punish negligent alcohol providers and keep them from putting communities in further danger.

Some folks argue that a business shouldn't be held accountable for giving customers what they want, but it's hard to ignore the risks when bars pour drinks nonstop without considering how that endangers their customers and the public. In the course of my career I've seen the devastating effects of that reckless and illegal behavior far too many times, and it can't be permitted.

However, police rarely look into dram violations. Why? Because their job is to investigate and find committed crimes--an admirable goal, but not one that directly helps the people injured during those crimes. That's why it's often necessary to have independent investigators look into these accidents rather than waiting for police reports. For the sake of the victims' loved ones, the sooner someone looks into everything that led to this crash the sooner there can be some answers. Any further steps would largely depend on what those answers turn out to be.

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