• June 28, 2022

Jose Cuestas Killed in Car Accident on FM 1421 in Cameron County, TX

Cameron County, TX — May 21, 2022, 45-year-old Jose Cuestas was killed in a single-vehicle accident on FM 1421 in Cameron County.

According to reports the incident happened around 2:50 p.m. on FM 1421 near FM 1732. Preliminary investigation suggests Cuestas was driving a Toyota Corolla north on the roadway at alleged high speeds. As he approached FM 1732 he allegedly veered off the roadway.

The Toyota hit something that may have flattened one tire, but Cuestas steered back onto the road and continued another half a mile northward before swerving left. The car crashed through a wood and wire fence then hit a tree on the property beyond it.

Cuestas, allegedly not wearing a seat belt, was pronounce dead at the scene.

No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Jose Cuestas Accident in Cameron County

UPDATE (July 28, 2022): Later reports indicate the accident victim had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .356 at the time. I don't say that with any judgment, but confirmation that he was drastically over the legal limit for intoxication may mean another party is partly responsible for the tragic damage done.

As I briefly mentioned before, Texas dram shop law holds businesses that over-serve alcohol responsible for the injuries their intoxicated patrons cause--including to themselves. Not every DWI crash starts with a law-breaking bar, but finding out where the drinks came from is an important and often-neglected step when helping victims and families get back on their feet.

I'm not saying I know of a particular business that over-served the victim, but generally speaking people drinking at home don't try to leave by the time they're more than quadruple the legal limit. Instead, people that intoxicated are often leaving bars or other alcohol-serving businesses where the staff illegally served them far too much.

So if a business is endangering its customers and the public, will the police do anything about that? Unfortunately, probably not. Their investigations rarely extend past the drivers to include where they drank, so if a dram violation is suspected it's usually best to seek help elsewhere from people who know how to get the needed proof. With that in hand many people hurt by reckless over-service have held bad businesses accountable for the damage they helped do.

Jose Cuestas Killed in Car Accident on FM 1421 in Cameron County, TX

ORIGINAL: Police say speeding is thought to be a key factor in this crash, but also noted that alcohol consumption may have been involved. Some may have thought the same thing after seeing the crash description, but as always it's best not to jump to conclusions.

At this point no one can say for sure what specifically caused the wreck or the victim's fatal injuries. For all anyone knows it could have been something far more unusual than drinking or speeding. Mechanical problems in the vehicle, loose gravel or water on the road causing a loss of traction, or even some kind of incapacitating health problem could all have contributed, and that's just a few possibilities of many.

I don't want to overcomplicate things. Further investigation could still show the wreck really boils down to speeding as police suspect, or alcohol could have played a role as they also suggested. If the latter suspicion is proven by clear evidence, that could mean a local business violated dram shop law and might be legally responsible for the driver's injuries. It's an important possibility to look into both to help the victim and to make the roads safer from bad bars.

In the meantime, though, I hope police don't focus so much on those theories that they neglect to perform a thorough investigation in search of the whole story. The victim deserves the benefit of the doubt unless objective evidence says otherwise.

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