Chartavin Johnson Injured in Single-Vehicle Accident on TX-64 in Rusk County
Rusk County, TX -- April 16, 2022, 29-year-old Chartavin Johnson was seriously injured in a single-vehicle accident on State Highway 64 in Rusk County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 1:10 a.m. on TX-64 near County Road 4134. Preliminary investigation suggests Johnson was driving a Chevrolet HHR east on the highway when she allegedly failed to maintain her lane. The Chevy swerved left through the turn lane and the road's westbound lanes, then exited to the north. It traveled down a dirt embankment and struck a stone wall at the bottom with its front-left quarter. After the impact it overturned and came to rest on its right side.
Johnson suffered serious injuries in the crash. An 8-year-old girl in the vehicle received minor injuries, while a 4-year-old boy was unhurt.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Chartavin Johnson Accident on TX-64 in Rusk County
The investigating officer noted that he though driver inattention was the main culprit in this accident. He didn't specify whether that took the form of watching a phone or paying attention to the kids in the car, among other possibilities, but he wasn't in the vehicle before it crashed so he couldn't really know.
Something that jumped out at me when reading reports is that the officer also said alcohol consumption may have been a factor. It's unclear how he reached that conclusion unless he was just spitballing based on how the crash happened, but if that's a genuine suspicion then I hope appropriate steps were taken to verify or disprove it. That usually involves collecting blood samples from the DWI suspect or obtaining their hospital treatment records. Reports don't mention either step being taken but neither would surprise me.
If either of those measures confirmed alcohol was a significant factor, the next important step would be to find out where it came from. Some people drink at home before driving, of course, but in many cases--particularly crashes early in the morning--it's learned they were behind the wheel after leaving a business that served them too much. That over-service is actually illegal, and when a business does so it violated dram shop law. In that event the business may be liable for any injuries their over-served customer causes or suffers while under the influence.
Dram shop is an important tool for many people hurt in alcohol-related wrecks since it gives them the right to seek help from the business that fueled the "drunk" part of drunk driving. In addition, it teaches those businesses a serious lesson in getting their priorities straight and obeying the law. It may or may not be a factor in the Rusk County crash, and I'm not saying I know more than what reports can tell. If police are satisfied with the story as they recorded it, though, it may be best to conduct an independent investigation to make sure all the facts are found.