2 Teens Injured by Alleged DWI Driver on SH 105 Business in Cleveland, TX
UPDATE (December 1, 2022): Sources indicate the truck driver, identified as 32-year-old Dillon Lamb, faces potential intoxication assault with a vehicle charges after the accident on Business 105.
Cleveland, TX — November 28, 2022, two teenagers were seriously injured by an alleged drunk driver in a work truck on State Highway 105 Business in Cleveland.
Authorities say the incident happened around 6:30 p.m. on SH 105 Business near Cleveland High School. Preliminary investigation suggests the two victims, boys ages 14 and 16, were walking toward the high school and were crossing 105B in a crosswalk when they were hit by a commercial pickup truck.
Both teens were airlifted from the scene to an area hospital for treatment of serious injuries. The truck driver was unhurt.
Investigators suspected the driver of being intoxicated but the driver refused to provide samples for testing. Officers obtained a warrant for a blood draw and collected samples as part of a DWI investigation.
No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Alleged DWI Accident in Cleveland
If investigators have their details straight it seems two teens were hurt by someone in a commercial pickup--someone who police say may have been intoxicated at the wheel. Some may think that if blood test results confirm the driver was drunk then there's not much else to say before deciding where all the fault lies.
Reasonable as that may sound, it's important to realize that there are still many details to work out. It's important to get all the facts for the victims and their families, but careful investigation must also be conducted because the clear evidence it finds helps ensure everyone responsible for the damage is held accountable.
But what do I mean by "everyone?" Well, if the allegations against the driver are true then clearly he should face consequences for his poor choices that evening. However, if he was "on the clock" and headed somewhere on company business when he hit those kids then his employer may also be considered responsible for the injuries he caused under a centuries-old legal principle called respondeat superior, or "let the master answer." Few companies accept that kind of fault without a bitter fight, though, which is why having objective facts tell the story is so critical.
Furthermore, if the allegations that the driver was drunk prove true then another local business may have some liability for what happened. Texas dram shop law says that licensed alcohol vendors (bars, restaurants, stores, etc) who sell or serve drinks to obviously intoxicated customers may be liable for the damage those customers do while excessively impaired.
Despite how some of this may sound, I'm not eager to find more "bad guys" to sue. I'm only trying to point out that things aren't always as simple as they may first appear, and fault for an accident may not always lie with a single person. If the company behind that driver had any idea that he might hit the road while impaired then allowing him behind the wheel of one of their trucks was negligent. Likewise, if a bar or restaurant could see he'd had enough to drink and kept refilling his glass, that was also negligent. In either case the business would arguably have contributed to what happened near Cleveland High, and justice demands that it not get away with that. The real question is whether police efforts alone will be enough to properly resolve this matter and get those boys the help they deserve.