• May 03, 2022

Maria Cantu-Ondarza Injured in Car Accident on Kingsland Blvd in Harris County, TX

Harris County, TX -- April 16, 2022, 62-year-old Maria Cantu-Ondarza was seriously injured in a crash with a suspected DWI driver on Kingsland Boulevard in Harris County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 2:10 a.m. on Kingsland Boulevard near Mason Road. Preliminary investigation suggests a Mazda CX-5 was traveling west on the roadway when it approached Cantu-Ondarza's Jeep Compass stopped at the Mason Road intersection. Reports indicate the Mazda driver failed to control speed and crashed into the back of the Jeep.

Cantu-Ondarza suffered serious injuries in the crash. The Mazda driver received minor injuries.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Maria Cantu-Ondarza Accident on Kingsland Blvd in Harris County

Police think the driver who rear-ended the victim was intoxicated by alcohol at the time. They drew blood for testing, and if those tests confirm the driver was drunk that may change how the collision should be handled.

Some may think I just mean ensuring the at-fault driver is charged appropriately, but I'm actually talking about finding out where their alcohol came from. Why is that important? Because Texas dram shop law says whoever provided it to her may also be responsible for the damage done to the victim.

Maria Cantu-Ondarza Injured in Car Accident on Kingsland Blvd in Harris County, TX

Under dram shop law a licensed alcohol vendor (bar, nightclub, restaurant, store, etc) that sells or serves drinks to an obviously intoxicated customer may be liable for damages that customer causes or suffers while under the influence. If police are right and the driver who hit the victim just after 2:00 a.m. was drunk, it's not unreasonable to think she might have just left a bar as it closed. If she did and tests show her BAC was over the legal limit, there may be questions about whether the bar's staff should have known better than to keep serving her.

That's getting ahead of things, though. First is properly identifying the real cause of the crash. Police seem to favor alcohol as the explanation, but until test results are in they shouldn't exclude other possibilities. Driver distraction or fatigue, problems with the vehicle, slippery road surfaces, or many other factors could have been responsible for the crash, and it wouldn't be fair to blame the driver if things were actually out of her hands. The best way to make sure all the details are covered and the right parties are held responsible is probably to involve an independent investigator with experience and training needed to get to the bottom of things.

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