• October 14, 2022

Nicholas Zisman Killed in Pedestrian Accident on RM 1431 in Llano County, TX

Llano County, TX — September 17, 2022, 43-year-old Nicholas Zisman was struck by two vehicles and died on Ranch to Market Road 1431 in Llano County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 2:40 a.m. along RM 1431 near County Road 321. Preliminary investigation suggests Zisman may have left nearby Pat's Bar & Grill and walked around 200 yards down RM 1431 before he somehow ended up lying down in the roadway. He was in a travel lane when two southbound SUVs passed through and hit him one after the other. Both drivers remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators.

Zisman was pronounced dead at the scene. Officers interviewed family members who told them Zisman had an epileptic disorder and was taking medication; other witnesses told police he was at Pat's that evening and had consumed alcohol.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Nicholas Zisman Accident in Llano County

Witnesses told police the victim drank alcohol, but it's not clear how much. Toxicology tests ordered by investigators may shed some light on that, but in the meantime other variables should be considered as well: What if the alcohol had a bad interaction with the victim's medication? Could something else have happened that laid him out on the roadway before the SUVs passed through?

For argument's sake, let's say the tests come back and show the victim was highly intoxicated. Some may not think that's important to establish since he can't face legal consequences, but it's still a vital detail because the bar where he drank may have broken the law as well. If it over-served the victim and his intoxication caused him to pass out in a dangerous place, that bar may be responsible for his fatal injuries under Texas dram shop law.

Nicholas Zisman Killed in Pedestrian Accident on RM 1431 in Llano County, TX

In a nutshell, dram shop law prohibits licensed alcohol vendors (bars, clubs, restaurants, liquor and convenience stores, etc) from selling or serving alcohol to obviously intoxicated customers. If those businesses illegally over-serve customers, the law punishes them for ignoring their obligation to public safety. Moreover, it grants the victims of their recklessness (including the families of the people killed by it) the right to confront them in court.

I'm not accusing the bar mentioned in reports of illegal activity. However, because it was the victim's last known stop before this tragedy occurred it seems like a thorough investigation find out how he spent his time there. If the bar's staff knowingly over-served him, then it may now have a legal duty to make amends to his loved ones after their loss. Will police consider that during their investigation, or would it be something better handled by independent investigators?

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