• April 06, 2022

Patrick Garza Killed in Car Accident on Jones Road in Harris County, TX

Harris County, TX -- April 5, 2022, 44-year-old Patrick Garza was killed in a head-on collision with a Harris County patrol vehicle on Jones Road.

Authorities say the incident happened around 10:00 p.m. at the intersection of Jones and Millridge North Drive. Preliminary investigation suggests a Harris County deputy was traveling back to the station near the end of his shift, driving north on Jones Road. Nearby, Garza was driving a Nissan Altima south on Jones and attempted to make a left turn onto Millridge at the intersection. Investigators believe he may have tried to make an unprotected turn with a flashing yellow arrow and entered the oncoming deputy's path.

Garza and the deputy were both injured in the crash and were taken to area hospitals. Garza later died at the hospital; the deputy was treated and released early the next day.

According to a statement from Harris County officials, Garza was found to be intoxicated at the time of the crash.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Patrick Garza Accident on Jones Road in Harris County

UPDATE (April 25, 2022): Later reports indicate the man who died in this accident had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .210 at the time. I don't say that to tarnish his name or to lecture anyone about drunk driving, but since evidence suggests the victim was intoxicated that may alter how the accident and his tragically-fatal injuries should be addressed.

In Texas and many other states alcohol-related crashes sometimes involve holding the businesses that serve it responsible for the damage their customers cause or suffer after getting drunk. Under dram shop law a licensed alcohol vendor like a bar or a restaurant is prohibited by law from selling or serving drinks to an obviously intoxicated customer. The possibility one broke the law that way before this wreck must be carefully investigated in case it should be held accountable for the damage it helped cause.

Unfortunately dram violations receive little attention from police. It's often best for victims and their families to seek help from independent investigators who know what proof to look for and how to get it. Armed with receipts, witness statements, video footage, and other evidence, many people hurt by negligent over-service have held businesses accountable for endangering the public in the name of making a buck.

Patrick Garza Killed in Car Accident on Jones Road in Harris County, TX

According to reports police suspect the man who died was intoxicated, though one told the news there were no immediate signs of it at the crash scene. Their suspicions may derive from something they learned while the victim was treated at the hospital, but that's not clear in reports.

If evidence confirmed that intoxication was a factor as police believe, some may feel there's little else to say about it since the driver's passing means he's beyond any legal consequences. However, they may not realize that after some alcohol-related crashes another party may be liable in the eyes of the law. With that in mind investigators should also look into where the victim got his alcohol that night.

When alcohol providers keep serving an obviously intoxicated customer and that customer's impairment causes injuries to himself or others--most commonly in a DWI accident--the businesses may be liable for the damage done under Texas dram shop law. The law would consider that business partly responsible for the wreck and the victims' injuries; it would then be expected to make whatever amends it could to the people hurt by its reckless over-service.

This measure makes sure an offending bar or store faces consequences for its reckless over-service. Moreover, it helps injured victims (including the over-served customers) and grieving families seek help as they try to recover. Not every DWI crash involves a dram shop violation, but it's important to find out for sure in case a negligent bar should be stopped from further endangering their community.

So if intoxication is confirmed will Harris County authorities trace the alcohol to its source? I hate to say this, but I doubt it. Police don't invest many resources into looking for dram shop violations despite how important it is to stop them. If one is suspected then victims and families are better served by working with independent investigators to prove a business broke the law. Armed with receipts, witness statements, video footage, and other evidence, many folks have successfully held bad alcohol vendors accountable for failing to protect public safety.

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