• April 22, 2022

Mario Sumano, Benjamin Caballero, Child Killed in Cameron County, TX Wrong-Way Crash

UPDATE (June 6, 2022): It is our sad duty to report that the 4-year-old passenger critically injured in this crash later passed away from his injuries.

Cameron County, TX -- April 20, 2022, Benjamin Caballero and Mario Sumano were killed in a wrong-way crash on Farm to Market Road 506 in Cameron County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 5:50 p.m. along FM 506 near the Willacy County line. Preliminary investigation suggests Caballero was driving a Chevrolet Spark north in the southbound lane of the roadway, against traffic, when it crashed head-on with a southbound Chevy Camaro.

36-year-old Benjamin Caballero, driving the Chevy Spark, was killed in the crash. 41-year-old Mario Sumano, a passenger in the car, was also pronounced dead at the scene. A minor passenger in the vehicle was critically injured and was rushed to an area hospital. The two occupants of the Camaro were taken to a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

The crash remains under investigation. No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Mario Sumano, Benjamin Caballero Accident in Cameron County

UPDATE (June 6, 2022): Later reports indicate the driver in this crash had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .248 at the time of the crash. I say that with no judgment or to speak ill of someone who lost his life, but confirmation that he was significantly over the legal limit may change how the wreck's aftermath should be approached.

As I mentioned previously, alcohol-related accidents sometimes involve holding the businesses that over-serve it responsible for the damage their intoxicated patrons cause or suffer. Under dram shop law such a business may have a legal duty to make what amends it can to the victim after the Cameron County accident.

Unfortunately, bad bars and their dram violations generally get little attention from police. If something like that is suspected then it's usually best for victims to get help from independent investigators who know how to get the necessary proof. Armed with receipts, witness statements, video footage, and other evidence, many people hurt by reckless over-service have held bad businesses accountable for breaking the law and contributing to their injuries and the loss of their loved ones.

Mario Sumano, Benjamin Caballero, Child Killed in Cameron County, TX Wrong-Way Crash

ORIGINAL: Speaking frankly, just about any crash reportedly involving a wrong-way driver raises some serious red flags because they most commonly happen when that driver is intoxicated.

To be clear, I can't and won't say that's definitely the situation in the above crash. Nobody, myself included, should jump to any conclusions before sufficient evidence is found to tell the whole story. It may be tempting to point to intoxication or distraction when reading about what happened there, but it's still possible that something rarer like confusing signage or disorientation caused the driver to accidentally travel against traffic. Even if some factors seem more likely than others, a diligent and thorough investigation and the information it uncovers are the best tools to ensure the truth is known.

In accidents where alcohol is ultimately found to be a factor, a local business may also be accountable for the part it played. Most wrong-way crashes occur after folks are over-served alcohol until they can't tell which way is which. When that happens whoever over-served them may be liable for the damage done to the victims--including their customer--under Texas dram shop law.

Again, I'm not bringing any of that up to say I know what happened on FM 506. I just know that victims and families affected by these crashes are too often left in the dark about the circumstances that led to their injury or loss. Police may conduct blood tests for toxicology as part of the investigation, but even positive results for impairment rarely lead to further investigations of where the alcohol came from.

Getting people the full story means making sure they know what investigators should be looking for. Whether that's the police or independent professionals with more specialized experience, ensuring victims and families get the answers they deserve should always be a priority. Are those steps being taken here?


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