• June 14, 2022

Jessica Clayton Killed in Single-Vehicle Accident on FM 23 in Cherokee County, TX

Cherokee County, TX — June 9, 2022, 48-year-old Jessica Clayton died in a single-vehicle accident off Farm to Market Road 23 in Cherokee County.

According to reports the incident happened around 6:30 a.m. along FM 23, around three miles south of Rusk. Preliminary investigation suggests Clayton was driving a Chevrolet Tahoe north on the road when she lost control and started to skid. The Chevy left the roadway, rolled, and crashed into the nearby tree line.

Clayton suffered fatal injuries in the accident.

No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Jessica Clayton Accident on FM 23 near Rusk

UPDATE (July 20, 2022): Later reports indicate the victim had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .216 at the time of the crash. I don't say that in judgment, but confirmation that she was significantly over the legal limit for intoxication may mean there's more to investigate. For instance, it's important to learn where she drank that day.

Texas dram shop law holds businesses that over-serve alcohol to their customers responsible for the damage those intoxicated patrons cause or suffer. Not every DWI crash involves negligent over-service by a law-breaking bar, but finding out where the drinks came from is an important step--both to get much-needed help for victims and to be sure those businesses face consequences.

Unfortunately bad bars generally get little attention from police. If it's possible one violated dram shop law then it may be necessary to seek help from independent investigators rather than wait for authorities to take action. Armed with the evidence those investigators find, many people hurt by reckless over-service have held bad businesses accountable for the damage they helped do.

Jessica Clayton Killed in Single-Vehicle Accident on FM 23 in Cherokee County, TX

ORIGINAL: I often find that people are quick to jump to conclusions after wrecks like this one. They're far too ready to assume the victim fell asleep, was distracted by her phone, or made some other kind of mistake at the wheel.

While it's true that some contributing factors are more common than others when it comes to a driver losing control, they must never be taken for granted. Other possible explanations also deserve careful consideration in pursuit of the full story.

Mechanical defects, tire blowouts, road hazards, missing signage or bad lighting, brake failure, another driver that left the scene, an animal in the road--these issues have all caused many crashes. However, authorities often overlook these possibilities--either while focusing too much on common factors or due to a lack of training, time, or equipment. That's why finding the truth often takes more thorough independent investigations. At the very least it's important to ensure a victim's loved ones get as many answers as possible about what caused their terrible loss. Will the necessary steps be taken here?

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