Joseph Roch, Dixie Russell, Child Injured in Car Accident on TX-19 in Van Zandt County
Van Zandt County, TX -- May 1, 2022, passengers Joseph Roch and Dixie Lynn Russell were seriously injured in a traffic accident on State Highway 19 in Van Zandt County.
According to reports the incident happened around 8:35 p.m. on TX-19 at Farm to Market Road 859. Preliminary investigation suggests 28-year-old Caleb Waller was driving a Nissan Altima sedan east on FM 859 and approached the Highway 19 intersection.
Waller allegedly disregarded a stop sign and started across the highway, at which point the Nissan was hit on the back-left quarter by a southbound Ford F-250 pickup. The impact spun both vehicles off the east side of the highway, where the Nissan crashed into a power pole.
Roch, Russell, and a 4-year-old boy, all passengers in the Nissan, suffered serious injuries in the wreck. Waller reportedly received minor injuries and the Ford driver was unhurt.
Blood tests later showed that Waller had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .176 at the time of the crash.
No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Joseph Roch, Dixie Lynn Russell Accident in Van Zandt County
Tests seem to have confirmed that one of the drivers in this accident was significantly over the legal limit for intoxication at the time. Some may think there's not much else to say about that aside from charging him accordingly, but they may not realize that another party--one that too often gets away with its role in alcohol-related accidents--could also be liable for the victims' injuries.
Under Texas dram shop law alcohol providers are forbidden from selling or serving drinks to obviously intoxicated customers. Some do so anyway despite those laws; when that happens and their drunk customer causes or suffers injuries, the law may hold the negligent business (a bar, restaurant, club, store, etc) that over-served them responsible for the damage done.
Not every DWI accident involves a dram shop violation. Reports had nothing to say about where the driver drank, and I'm not pointing fingers. However, it's an important detail to know as reckless bars endanger their over-served customers, those customers' passengers, and the public at large.
Despite the importance of finding those businesses and stopping them, though, law enforcement rarely does much about it. People hurt by DWI crashes often have to do some investigating of their own rather than wait for police to take action. Obviously that can be a tall order while they're just trying to get their lives back on track, which is why many of them recruit experienced allies. With the evidence of over-service those professionals uncover, many folks are able to hold negligent businesses responsible for the terrible damage they helped cause.