• December 20, 2022

Carlos Tello Parrà Killed, Guillermo Zuniga Jr. Injured in Auto Accident on CR 384 in Smith County, TX

Smith County, TX — December 14, 2022, Carlos Tello Parrà died and Guillermo Zuniga Jr. was injured in a crash on County Road 384 in Smith County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 5:40 a.m. along County Road 384 near FM 2908, a few miles outside Tyler. Preliminary investigation suggests Zuniga, 23, was driving a GMC Sierra north on the roadway when investigators allege he fell asleep at the wheel, possibly due to being under the influence of alcohol. The SUV left the roadway and crashed into a tree.

GMC passenger Tello Parrà, 33, was pronounced dead at the scene. Zuniga was transported to a Tyler hospital for treatment of incapacitating injuries. Authorities also collected blood specimens for testing as part of a DWI investigation; test results are pending.

No further information is available at this time.

Carlos Tello Parrà Killed, Guillermo Zuniga Jr. Injured in Smith County, TX Auto Accident

Too often I find myself pushing back against all kinds of assumptions that the drivers in single-vehicle wrecks must have done something wrong. I'm not saying it's impossible for falling asleep or impairment to have played a part as police suggested, but nothing can be taken for granted or assumed without clear evidence and further investigation. Did anyone look into possible mechanical issues in the SUV? Did a tire blow out? Reports say it was raining and the road was wet; were those factors? Did the driver have any medical conditions?

Even if blood tests come back positive and impairment is a confirmed factor, that may be more complicated than it seems at first. Rather than simply blaming the driver for being drunk, the source of their alcohol should be identified in case a bar or other business violated Texas dram shop law. If so, it might be partly responsible for the damage done and should be held accountable.

At the end of the day, a man lost his life and another was critically injured in this accident. That is objectively a terrible thing to happen to anyone, and the full story of how and why it happened is the least those men's families deserve. If they have lingering questions not addressed by a few sentences in preliminary reports, I hope authorities will help them get more answers.

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