Officers, Inmate Injured in Possible DWI Accident on I-45 in Willis, TX
UPDATE (June 23, 2022): In recent reports, authorities clarified there were four people in the prison transport van. The driver and one passenger reportedly had incapacitating injuries. Two others were said to have non-incapacitating injuries. Police also say that the other driver, identified as 27-year-old Ian Morris, had non-incapacitating injuries. It was recommended in the reports that there could be charges for intoxication assault, though these details cannot be confirmed at this time.
Willis, TX -- June 7, 2022, officers and an inmate were injured outside town due to an accident possibly involving an impaired driver.
Officials reported that the crash took place at around 2:30 a.m. in the 10000 block of the freeway. According to reports, a Texas Dep0artment of Criminal Justice prisoner van was in the northbound lanes when it may have crashed into a Ford F-150. Reports say that Ford may have been blocking lanes after it lost control and crashed into the barrier.
The inmate in the van reportedly sustained critical injuries while the two officers in the van were said to be stable. The pickup driver's condition isn't clear at this time. Police are investigating if the pickup driver was impaired at the time of the crash.
Commentary on Prison Van Accident on I-45 in Willis
It's not confirmed yet if intoxication played a role here, but it could make things quite complex if it did. That's especially true considering how common drunk driving is this early in the morning. Many people are driving home from bars around the time, which brings up the possibility of dram shop law--a possibility which victims and families need to have the tools to properly navigate.
To put it simply, dram shop law says that an alcohol provider who over-serves an obviously intoxicated person can be liable for damages resulting from that intoxication. If someone on their way home from a bar gets people hurt because that bar gave them too much to drink, both the driver and the negligent establishment can be held accountable for their actions. This both helps victims and families while also ensuring a business faces the appropriate consequences for harming their community.
Again, it's possible nothing like that happened here. But considering the injuries sustained here, isn't it worth every effort to make sure people get the help they need? My concern is folks may be quick to write off an inmate being hurt, but that's still a person, and they deserve as much of an opportunity is the two injured officers to pursue whatever rights they have under Texas law.