Child Killed in Attempted Hit-and-Run, Rene Alvarado Lopez Arrested in Houston, TX
Houston, TX — October 1, 2022, a 2-year-old boy was struck and killed by a vehicle in an attempted hit-and-run on Nairn Street in Houston.
Authorities say the incident happened around 4:25 p.m. on the 8400 block of Nairn near Gessner Road. Preliminary investigation suggests 22-year-old Rene Alvarado Lopez was driving a Dodge Ram pickup truck through an apartment complex's parking lot when he struck a toddler walking in the lot's driveway.
After the impact Alvarado Lopez reportedly tried to flee but witnesses followed him and held him near the complex until police arrived. They told officers they saw him speeding and drinking out of a can just prior to the accident.
The child struck by Alvarado Lopez was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators determined Alvarado Lopez was intoxicated and he allegedly told officers he had consumed five 32-ounce beers. He faces charges of intoxication manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid.
The investigation continues. No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Alleged DWI Hit-and-Run on Nairn St in Houston
If clear evidence like blood tests confirm that the suspect was intoxicated (as his reported confession of drinking 150+ ounces of beer would suggest), that may mean he'll face some legal consequences for his poor choices that day. The thought that a young life was so tragically cut short this way makes me feel ill, and certainly the person responsible should face serious punishment. However, I would also argue that everyone who played a part in this terrible incident should be held accountable. That's why it's important to talk about Texas dram shop law.
Under dram shop law an alcohol vendor (bar, restaurant, store, etc) that sells or serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated customer may be legally accountable for any damage that customer causes or suffers while under the influence. Depending on the circumstances in which the suspect bought his beers in Houston, the business that sold them to him may also be responsible for the terrible damage he did. If so, that business would have a duty to make what amends it could to the child's family.
There's still more investigating to do here and I'm not saying I have information police don't. Maybe no dram violation happened here, but if the driver really put away that much alcohol before getting behind the wheel it seems only prudent to find out where he bought it and whether he was already drunk when he did so. Unfortunately, police don't always look into that, so following up may fall to independent investigators instead.