• June 01, 2022

Teresa Gonzales Killed in Car Accident on I-35 Service Rd in Austin, TX

UPDATE (June 6, 2022): Sources have identified the victim killed in this accident as 19-year-old Teresa Gonzales.

UPDATE (June 3, 2022): Later reports indicate that 19-year-old Leo Anthony Carreto-Lopez was arrested on a potential intoxication manslaughter charge in relation to this accident. The victim's name has not yet been released.

Austin, TX — May 30, 2022, one person died after a vehicle crashed into a tree along the South I-35 service road in south Austin.

Reports say the incident happened shortly before 7:55 p.m. in the 10900 block of the northbound service road near Old San Antonio Road. The exact circumstances of the crash aren't clear, but news reports indicate a car crashed into a tree, then caught fire.

One adult at the scene was pronounced dead. Two other people were evaluated but refused medical transport for minor injuries.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Teresa Gonzales Accident of I-35 in Austin

UPDATE (June 3, 2022): It seems the driver of the car that crashed is suspected of being intoxicated at the time. That can mean different things depending on whether the intoxicant in question was drugs or alcohol, but if that underage driver was drunk that means the source of his alcohol should be found for at least two reasons.

First, it's obviously important to know who gave someone under the age of 21 alcohol. With a few notable exceptions, anyone contributing to the intoxication of a minor is in hot water with the law more or less by default.

Second, it's crucial to find out whether that alcohol provider was a business that sold it directly to the underage driver. It would have done so illegally as I mentioned in the first point, but more than that if it also served that driver to excess then it may be responsible for the victim's fatal injuries under Texas dram shop law.

I won't get too lost in the weeds speculating about what happened here or what an intoxication charge might mean for that young man. I just think it's important after a crash like this to learn all the relevant details, including how he was intoxicated (if he actually was) and where the intoxicants were obtained. Will police make the effort to find that out?

Teresa Gonzales Killed in Car Accident on I-35 Service Rd in Austin, TX

ORIGINAL: One concern I always have in situations like this is that folks will be quick to jump to conclusions. There's a pervasive tendency to blame crashes like the one above (especially ones involving a fixed object like a tree) on some kind of driver mistake like speeding or intoxication.

As common as things like those are, investigators must also have the experience and tools to look into of explanations like vehicle problems, road hazards, and medical emergencies. If nothing else, there's a family out there that deserves to know the full story, and jumping to conclusions won't do them any good. Rather than try to piece the story together with guesses and speculation, those on the sidelines of this investigation should focus on how best to help the victim's loved ones through a difficult time.

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