• October 31, 2022

Janna Martinez Injured in Crash with Wrong-Way Driver on US-183 in Austin, TX

Austin, TX — October 30, 2022, 21-year-old Janna Martinez was seriously injured in a crash with a wrong-way vehicle on U.S. Highway 183 in Austin.

Authorities say the incident happened around 1:15 a.m. on South US-183 near McCall Lane. Preliminary investigation suggests a Ford F-150 pickup was traveling north in the southbound lanes of the highway, against traffic, when it approached Martinez' southbound Nissan Versa. Martinez slowed and tried to swerve away but the pickup crashed almost head-on with the car.

Martinez suffered incapacitating injuries in the collision. The Ford driver had possible injuries and was reportedly arrested on suspicion of intoxication. Blood samples were collected for testing.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Janna Martinez Accident in Austin

If blood tests confirm alcohol was involved here as police believe (and as driving the wrong way on a highway would suggest), some may think that just means the alleged drunk driver will be charged accordingly. Charges are important, of course, since DWI drivers put themselves and others at risk and should face serious consequences. I'd argue the same is true of everyone who played a part in hurting that young woman, though, which is why it's important to talk about Texas dram shop law.

Janna Martinez Injured in Crash with Wrong-Way Driver on US-183 in Austin, TX

Under dram shop law, licensed alcohol providers who over-serve an obviously intoxicated person may be liable for injuries that person causes while under the influence. Anyone hurt by one of these accidents deserves all the help they can get; a dram shop claim against a negligent bar is one way to seek it. Furthermore, it makes sure the offending business faces consequences--above and beyond a warning or fine--for endangering its customers and the public.

Not every alcohol-related wreck involves a dram violation, and to be clear I'm not accusing any Austin businesses of over-service. The source of an alleged DWI driver's drinks is just an important detail to work out, but unfortunately police rarely make that a priority. If an alcohol vendor may have contributed to the crash then it may be best to seek proof of that independently. With the right help and evidence, many folks have held bad bars accountable for the damage they helped cause.

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