Roxanne Rivero Medina, James Henry Wheeler Killed in Car Accident in Abilene, TX
Abilene, TX -- May 4, 2022, Roxanne Medina and James Wheeler were killed after an accident where two vehicles crashed head-on.
Authorities reported that the crash took place at around 9:00 p.m. along Highway 83/84 near Kirby Lake.
According to officials, 35-year-old Roxanne Rivero Medina was traveling along the highway when a reported wrong-way driver, identified in reports as 96-year-old James Henry Wheeler, crashed into Medina's vehicle.
Both Medina and Wheeler sustained fatal injuries due to the crash. No other injuries were reported. At this time, factors surrounding the crash are unavailable.
Commentary on Roxanne Medina, James Wheeler Car Accident in Abilene
With wrong-way collisions, if that's indeed what happened here, there are always some red flags to consider. I say this because in almost every case involving a wrong-way driver, investigations find that alcohol was a factor. To be clear, I do not say this to speak ill of anyone involved in this particular crash. On the contrary, whenever alcohol leads to a wrong-way collision, evidence often shows that the wrong way driver was a victim themselves--a victim of being illegally over-served.
Texas has an area of the law called dram shop law. It essentially says bars and other businesses can be held liable when they over-serve alcohol to someone who is obviously intoxicated, and it leads to a crash. I'll give an example from a situation I handled not long ago.
In that case, a man crashed into a family's car after turning the wrong way and hitting them head-on. Through our investigations, we found that the man had been drinking at a local happy hour. That bar continued to serve the man despite the fact he could barely walk to and from the bathroom without toppling over. Did that excuse the man for getting behind the wheel intoxicated? No, but it helped to explain how someone got into a state of mind that caused them to do something as avoidable as getting on the wrong side of the road. If a business helps someone get to that dangerous point, they, too, need to be held accountable for their role in the resulting crash.
Could it be that something less common happened here? Absolutely. Maybe this stretch of road is abnormally dark or lacks proper signage. Maybe the wrong-way driver had some sort of medical condition that caused confusion that they couldn't help. Maybe it was just a simple mistake that had devastating consequences. I'm not here to jump to conclusions. But when there's a possibility someone out there bears responsibility for two people losing their lives, the victims' loved ones deserve to know that they can pursue consequences. Did authorities even bother bringing up these possibilities? Is this terrible tragedy getting the attention it deserves?