Raul Cruz Casas Killed, Glendy Gonzales, 6 Injured in Alleged Intoxicated Driving Accident on US 183 in Austin, TX
Austin, TX -- January 1, 2023, Raul Cruz Casas was killed and at least six were injured after an alleged intoxicated driving accident on US 183.
The fatal New Year's Day accident was said to have happened at around 9:00 p.m. along US Highway 183 in the area of Montopolis. Initial details suggested that a Dodge Dart was going northbound along the highway at the time. Police were told by a witness that the Dodge passed them on the left before then losing control and veering to the right off-road. There, the Dodge crashed into a Honda Pilot which may have been stopped along the side of the road. The Dodge then overturned.
From the Dodge Dart, details suggest a passenger, now identified by authorities as Raul Cruz Casas, sustained fatal injuries. The driver of the Dodge, identified as 33-year-old Benito Mondragon, and two other passengers were taken from the scene with injuries. Four people from the Honda, including a child, had injuries, as well. One of the passengers has been identified as 32-year-old Glendy Gonzalez.
Most recent information as of January 23 suggests that alcohol was a factor in the crash. Both police and news sources have laid out some concerning claims regarding these events. I am not here to confirm or counter those claims. That's not my place. My purpose is to shed some light on details that often surround stories like these which authorities frankly rarely talk about.
I've been helping folks affected by drunk driving for over 30 years now. Before they came to me, almost none of them knew about an important factor that often plays a role in these accidents: negligent alcohol providers. Here's why their possible involvement matters.
Headlines about drunk driving are not that surprising after a holiday like New Year's due to the fact many people are out celebrating. But what people don't often consider is there are businesses trying to take advantage of these celebrations without regard for whether or not they're doing so safely (or legally for that matter). It's illegal in Texas to over-serve someone who is obviously intoxicated, yet businesses do so all the time. I should know, considering I've confronted more such businesses than just about any other firm in the state.
At the end of the day, people rightfully want to see consequences follow a serious wreck which police allege involves alcohol. If an alcohol provider contributes to such a crash, they're affecting the lives of everyone involved, whether it's through injuries, loss of life, or potential court dates. Shouldn't those business also share in the burden of hardships that they directly contributed to?
While authorities were not specific beyond these claims, it's an all too familiar story on New Year's Day and the days surrounding it as folks go out and celebrate. Unfortunately, some celebrate too much, and people get hurt. If found to be a factor in a deadly wreck, drunk driving is obviously something that warrants stern consequences. But there could be an accomplice that police tend to overlook who may also have played a role in this.
As common as drunk drivers are on holidays like this, so too is it common for the establishments they're at to illegally over-serve them. Texas law says those businesses can be responsible if that behavior leads to people getting hurt. Is that something that happened here? One can only hope the lack of information here is due to prudence, but experience tells me accidents this serious are better handled when all possible contributing factors are getting proper and thorough attention.