• November 21, 2022

Stephanie Ferrer, Leilani Ann Orr Killed, Joseph Orr Injured in Alleged DWI Accident in Reeves County, TX

Reeves County, TX -- November 19, 2022, Stephanie Ferrer and Leilani Orr were killed, Joseph Orr was injured, in an alleged DWI accident.

Investigators said that the accident took place at around 3:30 a.m. along westbound I-20. It appears that 19-year-old Joseph Orr, 18-year-old Leilani Orr, and 44-year-old Stephanie Ferrerr were in a Toyota Corolla traveling westbound. Authorities say that a wrong way driver crashed into their vehicle, disabling it. Following this, two commercial trucks then hit the Toyota.

As a result of the collision, Leilani Orr and Ferrer reportedly succumbed to fatal injuries. Joseph Orr had apparently serious injuries. The driver said to be going the wrong way was identified publicly as Juan Orta-Gonzalez. He, too, was injured in the crash. Police allege that Orta-Gonzalez was intoxicated at the time and say charges for intoxication manslaughter are pending.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Stephanie Ferrer, Leilani Orr, Joseph Orr Alleged DWI Accident in Reeves County

I have to see evidence myself before I can make judgments on allegations as serious as these. But the reality is if someone was going the wrong way on the interstate, ninety-nine times out of a hundred they were drunk. If it's true that led to this awful event, then it's no wonder there are serious charges pending. But is that all there is to this, or is there an accomplice out there that still needs to face consequences for taking these victims' lives, sending one to the hospital, and potentially helping a driver face decades in prison?

Some may wonder who could possibly be responsible other than a drunk driver. In Texas, the answer can be an alcohol provider such as a bar, liquor store, or restaurant. This is due to dram shop law, which says that an alcohol provider who over-serves an obviously intoxicated person can be liable for damages resulting from that intoxication. But why exactly is this law so important?

Stephanie Ferrer, Leilani Orr Killed, Joseph Orr Injured in Car Accident in Reeves County, TX

There are two main reasons dram shop needs attention after a crash like this. One is that it can be a significant source of help for victims and families facing hospital bills, funeral costs, loss of income, or whatever other burdens the crash inflicted on them. That help may not otherwise be available to them without the rights given to them by dram shop law.

Secondly, quite simply, there needs to be accountability for a devastating crash like this. A drunk driver almost always gets their day in court. But if some local business breaks the law, over-serves someone to the point they don't know which side of the highway they're on, and contributes to that same crash, they often get off scot-free. Why? Because even authorities rarely give dram shop the attention it deserves. As a result, families are left bearing the burdens all on their own, and a negligent business gets to keep putting the community in danger like nothing happened.

Again, to be clear, I can't say if dram shop applies to this specific wreck. I also can't speak to whether or not these serious allegations are true. My concern is that victims and families affected by crashes like this are about as in need of help and answers as one could get. As such, it's important that people understand the possible steps which can be taken to get them what they need--more than that, what they deserve.

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