Maurice Rhine, Johnny Stanton Killed, Two Others Injured Forklift Crash in Houston, TX
Houston, TX — February 9, 2023, 2 people were killed and 2 others were injured in a collision with a forklift around 6:40 p.m. on Bellfort Ave in Houston.
Crash investigators report a Ford Expedition, with 4 occupants, was westbound on Bellfort when it struck a forklift that was exiting a private driveway.
Two passengers in the Expedition, Maurice Rhine and Johnny Stanton, suffered fatal injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
Authorities also report the third passenger suffered serious injuries, the driver of the Expedition suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and the forklift operator was uninjured.
Officers recommend charging the Expedition driver for Driving While Intoxicated, Intoxicated Manslaughter, and Intoxicated Assault.
People often regard preliminary news or police reports as the final word on a crash, but that's rarely the case. They may provide a general understanding of events, but it's rare that the details found during a once-over at the scene really give the full context of an accident.
That actually comes up a lot after wrecks that supposedly involved alcohol, which police mentioned strongly suspecting in the Houston crash above. If evidence confirms it was a factor then it seems like some serious consequences should follow for the drunk driver after their actions took two lives, but there could still be more to the story. For example, after many DWI accidents, it turns out the driver was illegally over-served alcohol by a local business beforehand. In such cases, negligent businesses may be partly responsible for their customer's unfortunate actions and the terrible injuries that followed.
News reports about the crash mentioned Houston authorities are already trying to trace where the SUV occupants drank before the crash. I'm not surprised they had similar thoughts about possible over-service, considering Harris County has bad enough problems with it that they created a special task force.
If their investigation finds a business that sold or served alcohol to the obviously intoxicated driver, that bar or store may be in hot water with the state—and deservedly so. However, criminal or administrative consequences like staff arrests or fines do little for the people its actions directly hurt. Police and the TABC may see that the business answers to the state for its negligence, but who'll ensure it also answers to the victims and families whose lives it changed?