Joe Perez Vences Injured in Hit-and-Run Accident on TX-21 in Caldwell County
Caldwell County, TX -- May 12, 2022, 20-year-old Joe Perez Vences was seriously injured in a crash with a hit-and-run driver on State Highway 21 in Caldwell County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 3:40 p.m. on Highway 21 near Skyline Road. Preliminary investigation suggests a Nissan NX2000 was traveling east on the highway in an alleged reckless manner. Nearby, Perez Vences was driving a Nissan Rogue SUV ahead of the pickup and had started to turn into the driveway of his residence.
According to reports the erratic driver swerved into the oncoming lane, then veered sharply back and crashed into the side of the turning SUV. The impact pushed the Rogue into a nearby iron fence where it came to a stop.
Perez Vences suffered serious injuries in the crash and was taken to an area hospital for treatment.
The other driver, later identified as Raul Miranda Duran, fled east without stopping but was followed by another driver who took pictures of his vehicle and license plate. Police used that information to locate Duran in Bastrop County and arrest him. Reports say he is expected to face a felony charge of Failure to Stop and Render Aid.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Joe Perez Vences Hit-and-Run on TX-21 in Caldwell County
Police found and arrested the hit-and-run driver for failing to render aid, but also pointed out in their report that intoxication from alcohol may have been a key factor in the crash. This certainly wouldn't be the first time I've seen a hit-and-run where the driver's compromised judgment led them to think taking off was the smart move.
Some may think there's not much more to say about this now that the offending driver's in custody and facing charges. What more is there to know? To make sure justice is properly done and the victim gets the help he deserves, there's still more information to learn.
For instance, one detail that too often goes overlooked after a DWI driver hurts someone in Texas, whether or not they stay at the scene, is where their alcohol came from. That may seem unimportant, but it's quite the opposite. Depending on where the driver drank before the accident, the victim may have the right to seek help from the business that sold the drinks.
Many folks aren't aware of Texas dram shop law or how it can help in a situation like this. In a nutshell, dram shop law prohibits licensed alcohol vendors (bars, restaurants, liquor and convenience stores, etc) from selling or serving alcohol to obviously intoxicated customers. If they do so illegally and their customers go on to cause or suffer injuries while under the influence, the business that provided too much to drink may be considered liable for the harm done.
I'm not saying I know business acted recklessly here, but did the authorities even consider it? I hate to say it, but my guess would be no. Law enforcement doesn't spend much time tracking down negligent over-service, content just to catch and punish its byproducts. Dram shop matters are more often dealt with by independent investigators looking more closely on the victim's behalf. Their careful attention to detail could be a step toward helping him get back on his feet AND stopping a reckless bar from further endangering its community.