Jorge Gomez Jr. Injured in Car Accident on 5th Street in Austin, TX
UPDATE (April 22, 2022): The seriously-injured victim of this accident has been identified as 30-year-old Jorge Luis Gomez Jr.
Austin, TX -- January 4, 2022, a 30-year-old passenger was seriously injured in a traffic accident on West 5th Street in Austin.
Authorities say the incident happened around 12:40 a.m. on West 5th at Lavaca Street. Preliminary investigation and witnesses suggest a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck was westbound on 5th, a one-way eastbound street, when the driver U-turned at Lavaca to go the right way. After making the U-turn the pickup ran the red light at Lavaca and passed into the intersection, where it crashed into a northbound Toyota Venza on Lavaca. After the impact the Toyota ran off the road onto the northeast corner of the intersection and the Chevy spun out in the travel lanes.
The Chevy's passenger suffered serious injuries in the crash. The pickup's driver Carlos Gomez and the Toyota driver, 51-year-old Larry Howell, reportedly received minor injuries.
Investigators noted a suspicion that the Chevy driver was under the influence of alcohol. Blood samples were collected for analysis.
No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Jorge Gomez Jr. Accident on 5th Street in Austin
If blood tests confirm alcohol was a factor here some people may think that mostly just means related charges will follow, but there might be other issues to address as well. For instance, it's important to find out where the suspect's alcohol came from that day because of Texas dram shop law.
Under dram shop law, licensed alcohol providers who over-serve an obviously intoxicated person may be liable for damages their customer causes or suffers while under the influence. This helps injured crash victims seek much-needed help with the difficult and often-expensive process of recovery. Furthermore, it makes sure an offending business faces consequences for recklessly endangering its customers and the public.
Having said that, though, it's important to note that alcohol is only a potential factor even if police suspect it. Clear evidence (like blood test results) is still needed before that suspicion could be called fact. Even if it's confirmed that still doesn't necessarily mean a dram shop violation occurred, but it'd be important to find out for sure--both to help the victims and to make sure a law-breaking bar gets the swift kick in the pants it needs to change its ways.
So if alcohol was a factor here and dram shop violations are such a big deal, does that mean police will track down the source of the drinks? Probably not, unfortunately. Law enforcement doesn't spend much time looking into dram shop violations despite the importance of stopping that behavior. If a bar may have broken the law, it's often better to work with independent investigators to get the needed proof of that. Armed with receipts, witness statements, video footage, and other evidence, many injured DWI crash victims have successfully held bad alcohol providers accountable for the damage their negligent over-service led to.