Bryce Sheppard Killed in Auto Accident on FM 1489 in Fort Bend County, TX
Fort Bend County, TX — May 17, 2022, 20-year-old Bryce Sheppard was killed in a crash with an alleged drunk driver on FM 1489 in Fort Bend County.
According to reports the incident happened around 7:40 a.m. on FM 1489 near FM 1093. Preliminary investigation suggests Sheppard was riding a Yamaha motorcycle south on the roadway, followed at a short distance by a Dodge Ram 3500 pickup driven by 56-year-old James Rivette.
Rivette allegedly failed to control his vehicle's speed and crashed into the back of the motorcycle, causing fatal injuries to Sheppard.
Investigators said Rivette was under the influence of alcohol and a potential charge of intoxication manslaughter was recorded in reports.
No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Bryce Sheppard Accident in Fort Bend County
If the allegations in reports are true and authorities end up pursuing the serious mentioned charges, that can have major implications. Part of an intoxication manslaughter charge is showing that the suspect's intoxication was the proximate cause of the accident. A similar standard is applied in another relevant and important area of the law the authorities tend to overlook: dram shop law.
Essentially, dram shop law says that a licensed alcohol provider that over-serves an obviously intoxicated person may be held liable for injuries their customer causes or suffers under the influence. For example, if someone leaves a bar or restaurant after drinking there and evidence shows they crashed because the business illegally over-served them, it may have a legal duty to help anyone hurt in the crash--both injured victims and families of people who lost their lives--recover the best they can from their harm and loss. Businesses that recklessly and illegally over-serve their customers deserve consequences the same as the drunk drivers they create do.
Right now intoxication is only suspected, not proven. If blood tests confirm police suspicions, however, then it's important to identify the source of the alcohol. I've worked on more dram shop cases than almost any other firm in Texas, and in that time the thing grieving families have wanted most is for the people responsible to be held accountable. The courts will likely see to it that the DWI driver is punished accordingly, but will police be thorough enough to find out if the buck stops there?