• May 05, 2022

Teen Motorcyclist Injured in Hit-and-Run Crash with Alleged DWI Driver in Dalhart, TX

Dalhart, TX -- April 20, 2022, a 17-year-old motorcycle rider was injured in a hit-and-run collision with an SUV on 7th Street in Dallam County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 7:30 p.m. on West 7th at Olive Avenue. Preliminary investigation suggests 43-year-old Stephanie Baldwin was driving a Ford Flex north on Olive as the teen victim was riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle west on 7th. Both vehicles approached the roads' intersection, where Baldwin allegedly disregarded a stop sign. The Ford entered the intersection and clipped the rear tire of the westbound Harley. The impact caused the rider to lose control and the bike crashed into a nearby curb.

The teen rider suffered serious injuries in the crash. Reports indicate Baldwin left the scene without stopping or rendering aid.

Investigators later located Baldwin and reportedly learned she was driving under the influence of alcohol. Breathalyzer testing determined she had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of approximately .101 at the time of the accident.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Motorcycle Accident on 7th Street in Dalhart

Police were apparently able to confirm with reasonable certainty that their suspect was intoxicated by alcohol at the time of the accident. Breathalyzers have a higher margin of error than blood tests, but police may have adjusted for that before recording their findings and determining the driver was impaired.

With a main factor of the crash identified and the hit-and-run suspect facing potential charges some may feel that more or less takes care of things, but criminal punishment does little to help the injured victim with the cost and hardship of recovery. However, that might be addressed in another way many people aren't aware of.

Teen Motorcyclist Injured in Hit-and-Run Crash with Alleged DWI Driver in Dalhart, TX

Folks are often tempted to lay the whole burden of a DWI crash on the drunk driver, but what about whoever provided her alcohol? If she was sold or served drinks despite clearly being past her limits, the business that did so may have broken Texas dram shop law. It says that an alcohol provider who over-serves an obviously intoxicated customer may be liable for injuries caused by that person while they are under the influence. If the suspect in Dalhart was over-served somewhere before the accident, the business that did so may have an obligation to help the injured victim get back on his feet.

To be clear, not every DWI accident starts with a dram violation. Even if the suspect drank at a local business it would also have to be proven they could tell she was intoxicated and kept serving her, and it's unclear whether she would have shown obvious signs with a BAC just over the legal limit. Whether or not a violation occurred is still an important issue to settle one way or the other, both to see if there's a way to help the victim and to teach a reckless bar a lesson if one is needed. Will police make it a point to find out the alcohol's source, or is that a matter better trusted to independent investigators?

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