Jose Martinez Killed in Hit-and-Run on Telephone Road in Houston, TX
UPDATE (April 7, 2022): Reports have identified the person killed in this accident as 27-year-old Jose Juan Martinez.
Houston, TX -- April 3, 2022, a pedestrian was struck and killed in a hit-and-run on on Telephone Road in southeast Houston.
Authorities say the incident happened around 1:25 p.m. on the 10100 block of Telephone at Swiftwater Lane. Preliminary investigation suggests a black Honda CR-V was traveling north on the roadway when it struck a pedestrian who was walking in the far right lane. The SUV driver continued north another four blocks before stopping and abandoning the vehicle on foot.
The victim, a man believed to be in his 20s, died at the scene.
Police are investigating the vehicle and its driver. No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Jose Martinez Hit-and-Run on Telephone Rd in Houston
UPDATE (June 3, 2022): Later reports about this incident suggest the pedestrian victim had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .164 at the time of the accident. I don't mention that detail to speak ill of him or in any way excuse the conduct of the hit-and-run driver (whom I still hope police will track down and hold accountable). However, learning that the victim was over twice the legal limit for intoxication may change how the accident should be addressed.
Depending on certain factors, Texas businesses that serve alcohol may also be responsible for the injuries their customers cause or suffer while drunk. 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.
ORIGINAL: Reports say the offending driver left the scene, but police seem to have the car they were in. That's usually a good start for tracking hit-and-run drivers down since it's a key piece of evidence that often leads to an arrest once they follow its paper trail. Aside from the occasional stolen vehicle, the registrant is usually the suspect or at least knows who was driving and where to find them. Sometimes it can take a while, but when they have substantive evidence to start with police are often able to find the offender more swiftly than when they have nothing.
Once the suspect is apprehended police can then see about why they took off after mortally injuring someone. Investigators typically find hit-and-run drivers flee because they want to hide something from law enforcement, which may turn out to be the case here as well. Sometimes they want to conceal illegal contraband like guns or drugs, while others have active warrants and know what it means to be caught. In many cases the driver in question is intoxicated when they hit someone and flee because they aren't thinking clearly. If that was the case in Houston, the investigation becomes a little more complicated as the source of the alcohol should be identified in case a local business violated dram shop law.
Before anyone can really know the specific reason the driver might have abandoned the vehicle and the victim, though, police will have to catch them. With the car in their possession, hopefully it's just a matter of time before someone either recognizes its description and puts two and two together OR authorities manage to trace it to the suspect. In the meantime, the best way to ensure this reaches a proper resolution is for the community to remain vigilant and police to stay committed to catching the runaway driver. That means sharing any helpful information or developments between them and keeping eyes and ears open. It may take a little time, but I remain confident that if everyone cooperates that justice will be done.