SCSO Deputy Lorenzo Bustos Killed by Alleged DWI Driver in Tyler, TX
Tyler, TX — July 28, 2022, 29-year-old Smith County Sheriff's deputy Lorenzo Bustos was fatally struck by an alleged drunk driver on State Highway 155 in Tyler.
According to reports the incident happened late Thursday night along TX-155 near County Road 1237. Preliminary investigation suggests Bustos, in the middle of a traffic stop with his training officer, was standing near the back of a Smith County patrol car when it was rear-ended by a Mercedes vehicle traveling on the highway.
The impact pushed the deputy underneath the patrol car and he suffered critical injuries. He was rushed to an area hospital where he died the following morning. The training officer and one person detained in the car's back seat received minor injuries.
The Mercedes driver, identified as 21-year-old Daniel Nyabuto, may face intoxication manslaughter charges after the crash.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Lorenzo Bustos Accident on TX-155 in Tyler
From all accounts this was a terrible and wholly-avoidable accident that claimed the life of a well-liked officer-in-training. My heart goes out to his family after their loss.
It may seem after reading reports like the offending driver is in custody and therefore justice will be served. However, one thing people don't always realize about Texas drunk driving accidents is many DWI drivers have "accomplices" of sorts that should face their own consequences. That's where Texas dram shop law comes in.
Under dram shop law a licensed alcohol vendor (bar, restaurant, club, store, etc) that sells or serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated customer may be liable for any injuries that customer causes while under the influence. Depending on where the alleged DWI driver's drinks came from in Tyler, a local business may be obligated by dram shop law to make whatever amends it can to the fallen deputy's loved ones.
People sometimes argue that a bar shouldn't be liable for giving customers what they want, but few could argue that serving drinks nonstop and then turning those polluted customers loose is anything but dangerous. In the course of my career I've seen the devastating effects of that reckless and illegal over-service far too many times, and I can't be alone in wanting the places that do it held accountable.
Not every DWI wreck starts with a dram violation, but they're more common than many people think and they should be dealt with swiftly if a bar is endangering its community. Will police look into that possibility here, or is this another DWI crash where they're content to treat the symptom and not the disease? If so, maybe an independent investigation would help the victim's family get the help and justice they deserve.