Hunter Wilburn Injured in Auto Accident on I-10 in Jefferson County, TX
Jefferson County, TX -- May 5, 2022, 22-year-old Hunter Wilburn was seriously injured in a traffic accident on Interstate 10 in Jefferson County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 11:30 p.m. on I-10 near mile marker 844. Preliminary investigation suggests Wilburn was driving a Nissan Pathfinder east in the right lane of the interstate when he approached an unoccupied Chevrolet Spark parked on the road with its hazard lights on. According to reports the Chevy had run out of gas and the road had no shoulders to stop on, lined on both sides by concrete barriers.
Wilburn approached the stopped Chevy but failed to control his speed and rear-ended it. After the impact the Nissan hit the nearby barrier.
Wilburn suffered serious injuries in the crash. Investigators noted he showed signs of intoxication and admitted as much; they collected blood specimens for testing and Wilburn was transported to an area hospital.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Hunter Wilburn Accident on I-10 in Jefferson County
Given the circumstances of this crash and the driver's reported admission of drinking, it seems reasonable that alcohol is considered a factor. Blood tests should offer some insight into how much of a role it played, and depending on what they reveal the victim may unfortunately face some legal consequences for his choices.
Some might consider that essentially the end of the matter, but that may not be true. Texas dram shop laws look beyond the drivers and considers whether the businesses that sold them their drinks have a share of the responsibility for the damage done. Those laws are designed to hold alcohol providers accountable for over-service, meaning times where they sell or serve alcohol to obviously intoxicated customers. If they do that illegally, they may be liable for any injuries those customers go on to cause or suffer while excessively impaired.
Not every DWI accident involves a dram shop violation. For instance, if the suspect drank at home first or bought alcohol while sober and then drank it on the road, it's not likely that a business would be liable for his injuries. Even if that's what investigators find out, though, it's worth knowing for sure one way or the other any time alcohol consumption may be a direct factor in an accident.
So will the authorities learn where the drinks were consumed? I hate saying this, but I doubt they'll put much effort into it. Police don't often check into possible dram shop violations despite how important it is to identify and stop that reckless behavior. Victims of drunk driving accidents, even the injured drivers themselves, are often best served by independent investigations to get what they need. Armed with receipts, witness statements, video footage, and other evidence, many folks have successfully held bad bars accountable for the damage they helped cause.