• March 31, 2022

Alisha Gutierrez Killed in Single-Vehicle Accident on I-45 in Houston, TX

UPDATE (April 4, 2022): The victim of this crash has been identified as 34-year-old Alisha Gutierrez.

Houston, TX -- March 31, 2022, a woman was fatally injured when her vehicle crashed into a concrete wall on the Gulf Freeway near downtown Houston.

Authorities say the incident happened shortly after 2:00 a.m. on the Pierce Elevated Bridge of the Gulf Freeway near Smith Street. Preliminary investigation suggests a Toyota Scion was traveling south on the 700 block of the freeway when the driver failed to maintain a single lane. The Toyota then hit the west barrier wall twice, rebounded through all the travel lanes, and hit the east barrier wall.

The driver received fatal injuries in the wreck.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Alisha Gutierrez Accident on I-45 in Houston

UPDATE (June 14, 2022): Later reports say the victim had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .169 at the time of the crash. I don't say that with any judgment, but since evidence seem to show she was over the legal limit for intoxication that may change how the accident should be addressed.

A lot of people think DWI begins and ends with the driver, but that's not always true. Depending on certain factors, Texas businesses that serve alcohol may also be responsible for the injuries their customers cause or suffer while impaired.

Under dram shop law alcohol vendors like bars and restaurants are prohibited from selling or serving drinks to obviously intoxicated customers. It's unclear whether a bar had anything to do with the Houston victim's impairment, but that should be carefully investigated in case it should answer for the damage its reckless over-service caused.

Unfortunately dram violations receive little attention from police. That's why if a bar is suspected of over-service then the people hurt by that often seek help from independent investigators. Those professionals know what proof to look for and how to get it, and armed with what they find many folks affected by a bar's negligent over-service have held it accountable for what followed.

Alisha Gutierrez Killed in Single-Vehicle Accident on I-45 in Houston, TX

ORIGINAL: It takes a lot more than preliminary reports to confirm what ultimately caused a crash like this one. To be sure the truth is found it's important to look into more than just the most common possible factors. Authorities tend to focus all of their attention on things like distracted driving, fatigue, and alcohol. Those are certainly important to look into, of course; alcohol in particular can be crucial to know about because a local bar may have illegally over-served the driver and should then be held liable for their injuries through dram shop law.

However, just because some factors are common doesn't mean they're the only explanations. What about less-common possibilities?

Things like mechanical issues, tire blowouts, brake failure, medical conditions, road hazards, faulty safety features, malfunctioning signals, missing signage, poor lighting, and other such possibilities aren't particularly common in single-vehicle accidents, and yet they cause crashes every day all over the world. Overlooking those possibilities doesn't do anything except risk letting important details slip through the cracks. Since getting folks the help they need should be the priority, it's important that investigators handling these accidents have the experience and equipment to be as thorough as is needed. Whether or not the authorities here will exercise that due diligence remains to be seen.

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