Michael Ducharme Killed in Car Accident on FM 78 in San Antonio, TX
San Antonio, TX -- December 12, 2021, 68-year-old Michael Ducharme was killed in a traffic collision on Farm to Market Road 78 in San Antonio.
Authorities say the incident happened around 9:10 p.m. on FM 78 at Springfield Road. Preliminary investigation suggests Ducharme was driving a Honda Accord southwest on FM 78 when he attempted to make a left turn onto Springfield. While turning he passed through the northeast-bound lanes and entered the path of an oncoming Ford F-150 pickup, which crashed with the Honda in the roadway.
Ducharme suffered fatal injuries in the crash. The Ford driver was reportedly unhurt.
Blood tests performed on Ducharme showed he had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .104 at the time of the accident.
No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Michael Ducharme Accident on FM 78 in San Antonio
Tests seem to have confirmed that the victim who lost his life in this crash was under the influence of alcohol at the time. That may change how the accident should be handled as well as what rights the victim's loved ones have as they try to recover from their loss.
Most people realize that the legal BAC limit of .08 was decided upon because it's essentially the point when an average person can no longer do complex tasks. The most common of those tasks to go wrong is operating a vehicle; reflexes and judgment are considered too compromised by a .08 BAC for someone to drive safely.
Part of the difficulty with that degree of intoxication is that while it's enough to make driving dangerous, it can also be hard to perceive. That sort of "stealth" impairment can even linger for a drink or two beyond that, though it becomes increasingly hard to miss.
At some point signs of intoxication should be clear even to casual observers, though it's hard to say if someone relatively close to the legal limit would have shown obvious clues. However, a bar's staff is supposed to have training in catching those signs much sooner that an average person would. If a San Antonio business' staff saw signs that their customer was at or past his limit and poured him another drink anyway, they may have violated Texas dram shop law. If so, the business would then have a legal responsibility for the fatal injuries he suffered on FM 78.
Dram shop law is the best way to ensure law-breaking bars and other alcohol-serving businesses are held accountable and the way people affected by their over-service (including the over-served customers and their families) seek help. Not every DWI crash involves a dram violation and it's unclear if one happened in San Antonio, but it's important to investigate that possibility when alcohol use may be linked to injuries. Police don't look too closely at dram violations, though, so if an alcohol vendor (bar, restaurant, club, store, etc) is suspected of being involved, I often recommend working with an independent investigator to hold it properly accountable.