Patricia Wingo Killed in Alleged Intoxicated Driver Accident in Gaines County, TX
Gaines County, TX -- October 9, 2022, Patricia Wingo sustained fatal injuries due to an accident allegedly involving an intoxicated driver.
Authorities said they responded to US Highway 62 early Sunday morning for a fatal head-on collision. They say it appears as though 79-year-old Patricia Wingo was southbound in a vehicle while a pickup, reportedly driven by Brian Armendariz, was northbound.
Police believe Armendariz's pickup crossed into oncoming lanes where it crashed head-on into Wingo, who died as a result of the collision. Police say they arrested Armendariz on suspicion of intoxication manslaughter. Right now, additional details are unavailable.
Commentary on Patricia Wingo, Alleged Intoxicated Driver Accident in Gaines County
If these details end up proving to be accurate, then it's just infuriating to see intoxicated driving take yet another life on Texas roads. It's a serious problem, and it's important folks understand what steps can be done both to reduce this epidemic as well as get victims and families some much needed help. While folks may understand that a driver will likely see their day in court, there are often accomplices to these incidents police overlook: alcohol providers.
Put simply, many intoxicated drivers are such due to alcohol that was illegally served to them by a local bar, restaurant, club, or store. In Texas, it's illegal to over-serve someone who is obviously intoxicated. If doing so contributes to an accident, then dram shop law allows the victims and families to hold that establishment accountable for their actions.
A lot of people think this is a way for some lawyer to shift blame off of drunk drivers. That's not at all true. I bring up dram shop for two main reasons. One is that alcohol providers that break the law put their community in danger. Of all the hundreds of establishments I've confronted, I have yet to find one that continued to be reckless after being held accountable the first time. Getting them to clean up their act can help to make our roads safer.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, dram shop offers families an opportunity both to get the help they need and to see there are appropriate consequences for their hardships. If I lost a loved one in a crash like this, and investigations showed some business benefited off of actions that contributed to that loss, I'd want to know steps were being taken to hold them accountable just as authorities hold drunk drivers accountable.
So, are those steps being taken here? Was alcohol a factor? Are experienced investigators ensuring the victim's loved ones are getting the full story? These are all crucial questions folks should keep in mind as more information comes to light.