• May 05, 2022

Cavin Schilling Injured after Falling out of Truck Window on Valley Mills Drive in Waco, TX

UPDATE (May 11, 2022): The passenger injured in this accident has been identified as Cavin Schilling.

Waco, TX -- April 17, 2022, a 30-year-old passenger was seriously injured after falling out of a pickup truck on Valley Mills Drive in Waco.

Authorities say the incident happened around 2:10 a.m. on Valley Mills near Greer Drive. Preliminary investigation suggests 28-year-old Zachary Owen was driving a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck south on the roadway when for unknown reasons his passenger reportedly climbed partway out of the truck's passenger window. The passenger soon fell out and landed on the roadway.

According to reports the passenger's head struck the road when he fell, causing a brain bleed. He was rushed to an area hospital.

Investigators believed that Zachary Owen was driving under the influence of alcohol. Blood tests later showed he had a BAC of .226 at the time of the accident.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Cavin Schilling Accident on Valley Mills Drive in Waco

Police seem to have confirmed that the driver involved in this accident was pretty heavily intoxicated at the time. That's obviously dangerous and unwise, but it also seems to be more or less coincidental and not necessarily the direct cause of his passenger's serious injuries. I do however wonder if the passenger might have been in a similar state, given how reports say things happened. I don't want to talk out of school about that poor guy and I hope he makes a full recovery, but at the very least it seems like impairment should be checked into.

Here's the thing, though: Police don't usually care if passengers are drunk as long as they don't break any other laws from the passenger seat. The driver may be in some trouble after getting behind the wheel at almost triple the legal limit, but police probably won't look at the passenger's treatment records to find out if he had matching numbers. Somebody should, though. Why? Because if the two of them were drinking at a local bar or other alcohol-serving venue and the passenger got too drunk to make good choices, that business might be responsible for his injuries under Texas dram shop law.

Cavin Schilling Injured after Falling out of Truck Window on Valley Mills Drive in Waco, TX

Dram shop law basically says alcohol vendors like bars, restaurants, clubs, and stores can't sell or serve drinks to an obviously intoxicated customer. If they keep refilling someone's glass when they can clearly tell that person is past his limits, they break the law. Period. In those cases they may be liable if their customer hurts himself or anyone else while under the influence of all those drinks.

Dram shop claims serve the double purpose of getting badly-injured people the help they need and also teaching negligent bars a hard lesson about getting their priorities in order. It's not okay to put bigger bar tabs ahead of customer and public safety, but sometimes businesses lose sight of that simple idea. When that happens, sometimes a dram shop claim is the wake-up call they need to get their act together.


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