• May 19, 2022

Natalia Portillo Injured in El Paso County, TX Car Accident on Joe Battle Blvd

UPDATE (June 7, 2022): Sources have identified the person seriously injured in this accident as 21-year-old Natalia Portillo.

El Paso County, TX -- May 2, 2022, a vehicle's 21-year-old passenger was seriously injured when it crashed on Joe Battle Boulevard in El Paso County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 10:30 p.m. on the 1500 block of Joe Battle at Vista Del Sol Drive. Preliminary investigation suggests 21-year-old Mark Rodriguez Jr. was driving a Kia Forte north on Joe Battle when he reportedly disregarded a red light at Vista Del Sol. The Kia entered the intersection and was hit on its driver's side by an eastbound Jeep Gladiator.

The Kia's 21-year-old passenger suffered serious injuries in the crash. Rodriguez reportedly sustained minor injuries. The Jeep driver was unhurt.

No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Natalia Portillo Accident on Joe Battle Blvd in El Paso County

Investigators said the driver who ran the light may have been intoxicated. If clear evidence confirms that then the crash may have other implications--ones that are too often overlooked.

What do I mean? Well, there's often someone else involved in alcohol-related wrecks that escapes responsibility for the part it played: the alcohol provider. People often don't know that those businesses may have some legal responsibility for the damage done in DWI crashes.

Natalia Portillo Injured in El Paso County, TX Car Accident on Joe Battle Blvd

Texas dram shop law basically says that an alcohol provider who over-serves an obviously intoxicated person may be liable for injuries that person causes or suffers while under the influence. While the driver generally has to answer for their actions after a wreck like the one above, the negligent alcohol providers that contribute to many of those accidents often get away with it despite endangering their customers and the public. Dram shop law makes sure they're held properly accountable for ignoring their duty to protect their community--mostly from themselves and the byproducts of their reckless over-service.

Not every DWI crash involves a dram shop violation, and maybe nothing like that happened here. However, any nighttime crash where police suspect alcohol's involvement should receive proper investigation into all its elements, including possible "accomplices" like bars or stores. Steps should be taken to make sure they too face appropriate consequences, especially if that might also get the victims some much-needed help and answers.

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