• May 16, 2022

Braylon Smart Injured in Alleged Hit-and-Run on West Loop in Houston, TX

Houston, TX -- April 23, 2022, motorcyclist Braylon Smart was struck and seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver on the West Loop in Harris County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 4:15 a.m. on the 1600 block of West Loop South. Preliminary investigation suggests Smart was riding a Suzuki motorcycle on the Loop when a Nissan Versa driven by suspect Trameseya Derousselle approached behind him in the same lane and hit the motorcycle. The impact knocked Smart off the Suzuki and he suffered serious injuries.

After the collision Derousselle fled without stopping or rendering aid. Investigators later located the vehicle and learned that Derousselle was driving when the accident occurred. When police contacted her, Derousselle advised she may have fallen asleep while driving and didn't remember what happened.

No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Braylon Smart Accident on West Loop in Houston

A common error I see after these incidents is thinking reports already say everything there is to know. The suspect allegedly fled after hurting the victim and she now faces charges, so what more could there be to say?

For starters, there's the urgent question of why she left after the crash. She told police she didn't remember it happened, but even if she fell asleep beforehand I have a hard time thinking she stayed asleep during the collision or while driving away from it. So what gives?

Many drivers take off because they either panic or they want to hide something else from police, but knowing for sure if those or some other reason apply is vital. Depending on why the Houston suspect took off, there may unique legal avenues to help the victim get back on his feet. I think most would agree it's best to make sure he gets all the help he deserves.

Braylon Smart Injured in Alleged Hit-and-Run on West Loop in Houston, TX

So what do I mean by "They want to hide something else?" Well, for one, the possibility that a hit-and-run suspect was intoxicated at the time usually warrants careful investigation. Many drivers flee because their judgment is heavily compromised by alcohol, which is more important to know than some might think. If that turns out to be a factor in the above accident, for example, that could mean a local alcohol provider is partly responsible for the victim's injuries under dram shop law. In that case the business might have a legal obligation to help the victim get back on his feet.

I'm not saying for certain that a dram shop violation happened here, but did the authorities even look into it? I hate to say it, but probably not. Law enforcement doesn't spend much time tracking down negligent over-service from bars and other vendors, content instead just to punish drunk drivers. It's still good that someone will face justice for the damage dealt to the victim, but the idea that police might let another liable party slip away is more than frustrating. That's why dram shop matters are most often dealt with by independent investigators. Their careful attention to detail may not find evidence of over-service, but they could also be a step toward getting the victim some much-needed assistance in a difficult time.

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