Teen Killed, Pedro Garcia-Cleto Injured in Alleged DWI Accident in Dallas, TX
Dallas, TX -- October 25, 2022, a teenager was killed and one was injured following an accident in the Oak Cliff area allegedly involving an intoxicated driver.
Details suggest the crash happened near the intersection of West Illinois Avenue and South Westmoreland Road just before midnight.
It appears that a 16-year-old identified in the news as Javier Rodriguez was eastbound on West Illinois at the time. From oncoming lanes, an SUV reportedly driven by 22-year-old Pedro Garcia-Cleto was said to have crossed the center median. Doing so, Garcia-Cleto's vehicle crashed head-on with Rodriguez's vehicle.
Rodriguez sustained fatal injuries as a result of the crash, officials say. Garcia-Cleto's injuries were described as serious. Right now, police allege that Garcia-Cleto was intoxicated at the time and will face intoxication manslaughter charges. No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Javier Rodriguez Alleged DWI Accident in Dallas
As a father, an accident like this is just unfathomable. Despite helping hundreds of families affected by similar situations, it doesn't get any easier to talk about these tragedies. But it's important folks understand just how complex these situations are for victims and families beyond the devastation it brings to their lives. These incidents are rarely wrapped up neatly by sending a driver to court. In fact, there is usually an accomplice to intoxicated driving accidents who also must face consequences: a local bar.
In Texas, dram shop law says that an alcohol provider who over-serves an obviously intoxicated person can be liable for damages resulting from that intoxication. While folks sometimes take that as some way to shift blame off drunk drivers, that's simply not why dram shop exists. Consider that a drunk driver typically gets arrested, faces charges, gets their day in court, and is at the whim of the criminal justice system.
Meanwhile, if a bar recklessly (not to mention illegally) served that same driver to the point it was clear they'd hurt themselves or others, they may not face any consequences whatsoever unless steps are taken to see they do. That means that they benefited from the business that led to a serious crash, and they can simply continue to behave negligently until more families' lives are turned upside down as no doubt happened here.
As such, dram shop provides an opportunity both to get victims and families significant help while also holding those reckless businesses accountable. This usually means they clean up their act so no other families have to suffer.
I can't say right now if alcohol was actually involved in this crash, and I certainly can't say there are any negligent establishments responsible for this young man's death without seeing clear evidence. However, as I said, I know from experience just how devastating something like this can be for a family. They deserve all the help they can get, but just as important is seeing those responsible for a teenager's death face appropriate consequences for their actions. Police have already taken steps to see a driver answer for their alleged actions. Will steps be taken to ensure others complicit in this tragedy also answer for their actions?