• April 06, 2022

Yesenia Ventura Guzman Killed in Hit-and-Run on Ella Blvd in Harris County, TX

Harris County, TX -- April 2, 2022, 47-year-old pedestrian Yesenia Ventura Guzman was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver on Ella Boulevard in Harris County.

Authorities say the incident happened Saturday on the 16200 block of Ella Boulevard. Investigators' reports suggest a Ford Focus was traveling northwest on Ell in the Number 2 lane when it approached Yesenia Ventura Guzman, who was either standing or in motion in that lane at the time. The Ford hit Ventura Guzman with its front right side and she rolled over the top of the car before coming down in the roadway.

Reports say the car's 23-year-old driver continued a short distance away from the crash site, then abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot. Investigators later learned she was picked up by her mother and transported away, but they were later able to locate her and she was charged with Failure to Stop and Render Aid causing Death.

Yesenia Ventura Guzman was pronounced dead at the scene.

No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Yesenia Ventura Guzman Hit-and-Run on Ella Blvd in Harris County

UPDATE (August 3, 2022): Later reports indicate the accident victim had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .158 at the time. I don't say that with any judgment, but knowing she was approximately twice the legal limit for intoxication may mean there's more to investigate.

As I briefly mentioned before, Texas dram shop law holds businesses that over-serve alcohol responsible for the injuries their intoxicated patrons cause. Not every DWI accident involves a law-breaking bar, but finding out where the drinks came from is an important and often-neglected step when helping victims and families get back on their feet.

It may not seem important to learn if a pedestrian was intoxicated after an accident like this, particularly there's no excuse for hit-and-runs. However, if the pedestrian was only in the roadway because alcohol compromised her judgment then whoever gave it to her may have some answering to do.

So will the police do anything about a business' possible illegal activity? Unfortunately, probably not. Their investigations rarely extend past the people immediately involved in an accident, so it may be better to seek help from independent investigators who know what to look for. With evidence of over-service in hand many people hurt by reckless bars have held them accountable for the damage they helped do.

Yesenia Ventura Guzman Killed in Hit-and-Run on Ella Blvd in Harris County, TX

ORIGINAL: Reports say the offending driver fled the scene, but police seem to have tracked her down with some effort. It's some comfort to know that someone will face some accountability for the terrible and fatal damage done on Ella Boulevard, but I urge people not to assume her arrest really ties a bow on the investigation.

With the driver arrested, I hope police took the time to learn why she took off after mortally injuring someone. Investigators typically find hit-and-run drivers flee because they want to hide something, 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 outstanding warrants. In many cases, though, the driver in question is intoxicated when they hit someone and flee because they aren't thinking clearly. If that was the case here the investigation may become a little more complex, as the source of the alcohol should be identified in case a local business violated dram shop law.

I don't want to stray too far into speculation about law-breaking bars or impairment. Police seem to have only charged the driver with failure to stop and render aid--a serious charge, no doubt, but not one that implies intoxication. At this point the only way to know whether a bar or other alcohol vendor might have a duty to help the victim's family would be if the driver confessed to drinking prior to the accident and then named a specific place where she did so. Will police make sure that's part of the investigation? Only time may tell, but the way reports look now it doesn't seem like they plan to pursue it. If not, the victim's family may need the help of independent investigators to look into that possibility.


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