Bicyclist Injured, James Allen Arrested in Alleged DWI Hit-and-Run in Odessa, TX
Odessa, TX — December 3, 2022, a bicyclist was critically injured by an alleged DWI driver in a hit-and-run on 67th Street in Odessa.
Authorities say the incident happened Saturday night in the area of 67th Street and Dixie Boulevard. Preliminary investigation and witness statements suggest a southbound Chevy Silverado rear-ended and critically injured the cyclist, who was riding south ahead of the pickup.
The driver, identified by the witnesses as 32-year-old James Allen, reportedly fled the scene but was soon found by officers. He reportedly performed poorly on field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer indicated he had an approximate BAC of .18. He was arrested on suspicion of failure to stop and render aid resulting in serious bodily injury, intoxication assault and evading arrest.
No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Alleged DWI Hit-and-Run on 67th in Odessa
Breathalyzers have a higher margin of error than blood tests, but even allowing for that it seems police found more than enough reasons to think intoxication was a factor here.
Some may feel that only matters in terms of the suspect's charges. It's important that drunk drivers face serious penalties for their choices, but criminal punishment also does little to help injured crash victims with the cost and hardship of recovery. However, that might be addressed another way by Texas dram shop law.
Under dram shop law an alcohol provider that over-serves an obviously intoxicated customer may be liable for injuries caused by that person while they're under the influence. If the Odessa suspect was over-served somewhere that night and his intoxication was the reason he hit the bicycle, the business that provided his drinks may have a duty to help the injured rider get back on his feet.
Alcohol providers have a legal responsibility not to over-serve people, though you'd never know it by the way many of them behave. When they ignore the rules and people get hurt, it seems only right that they make amends. Most businesses follow the rules and not every DWI case involves a dram shop violation, but the possibility should be looked into when alcohol use seems to be tied to serious injuries. Bad bars should face consequences and the people they harm deserve all the help they can get.