• July 13, 2022

6yo Boy Killed by Suspected Drunk Driver on South Padre Island, TX

South Padre Island, TX — July 10, 2022, a 6-year-old boy was struck and killed by a vehicle near County Beach Access Road 5 on South Padre Island.

According to reports the incident happened around 5:20 p.m. roughly half a mile north of Cameron County Beach Access No. 5. Preliminary investigation suggests the 6-year-old Brownsville boy was playing near the shoreline when a vehicle backed up and hit him.

The boy was airlifted to a Harlingen hospital where he was pronounced dead. The driver, 53-year-old Hector Martinez Jr., was arrested a short time later on an intoxication manslaughter charge.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Hector Martinez Jr. Accident on South Padre Island

If reports are right and the driver who ran over the child was intoxicated, he may face serious consequences for the damage he did. I don't say that in judgment or as the beginning to some sermon about the evils of drunk driving, nor is it my place to speculate about what the justice system has in store for the suspect.

Instead, I think it's more important to talk about how to help the victim's loved ones in the aftermath of this heartbreaking accident. They may get some satisfaction in seeing consequences come to the person who caused their terrible loss, but at the same time that may do little to help them with the difficult and often-costly resumption of their lives. That's why people affected by incidents like this one should be aware of Texas dram shop law.

6yo Boy Killed by Suspected Drunk Driver Hector Martinez Jr. on South Padre Island, TX

Dram shop law essentially says that a business which sells or serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person may be liable for any injuries that person causes or suffers while under the influence. Not every accident starts with a law-breaking bar or store over-serving their customers--for all anyone know at this point the suspect was just drinking on the beach before heading out--but dram violations happen far more often than people realize. When a business prioritizes sales over safety, it should be held accountable for the damage it helps cause after its customers stumble out the door. Will authorities look into that part of the accident, or would an independent investigation stand a better chance of finding the whole truth?

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