Patrick Malone, 1 Killed, Concepcion Villa Injured in Wrong-Way Accident in Harris County, TX
UPDATE (November 28, 2023): Details from authorities identified the driver of the Nissan as 40-year-old Patrick Malone, one of the people killed in the crash. The woman in the vehicle with Concepcion Villa has yet to be identified publicly. There still is no confirmed cause for the accident.
Harris County, TX — November 4, 2023, two people died and Concepcion Villa was injured following a wrong-way driver accident around midnight on I-10.
Authorities with the Harris County Sheriff's Office say they were called out at 12:05 a.m. to the 13900 block of the East Freeway, which appears to be in the area of Cloverleaf. Details suggest the crash itself occurred just before midnight.
In preliminary statements, officials say that 19-year-old Concepcion Villa and an unidentified woman were in a Ford Ranger going eastbound along the East Freeway. Up ahead, it appears a Nissan Kicks was going the wrong direction against eastbound traffic. This led to the Nissan crashing head-on into Villa's Ford Ranger. The vehicles then caught fire.
As a result of the collision, Villa was taken to a hospital in reportedly critical condition while his passenger's injuries proved fatal. The alleged wrong-way driver also died due to the accident. While authorities have yet to confirm exact factors surrounding the accident, they appear to be focusing on intoxicated driving as a possible contributing factor.
It wouldn't at all surprise me if authorities did find that something like drunk driving led to this crash. Almost every single wrong-way crash involves an intoxicated driver. Now, some may not think it matters all that much considering the person who would be the allegedly drunk driver also died in this crash. There's no one to answer for their actions here, so what's the point? Well, for one, the survivor and the families of the deceased victims deserve to know the whole story. Plain and simple. But beyond that, any wrong-way crash can involve a local alcohol provider who can still be held accountable for their role in the crash.
For example, I handled a case against a bar not too long ago involving a wrong-way driver. At the same time, authorities were pursuing charges against the servers. The evidence showed that the establishment over-served the intoxicated driver, meaning they broke Texas law and contributed to the resulting crash. When businesses do this, they open themselves up to potential liability, criminal charges, citations from the TABC, and sometimes even revoked licenses. It's a clear message to would-be alcohol providers that they need to handle their product responsibly because they're not immune from consequences when their actions lead to people getting hurt or killed.
While there has been no confirmation of alcohol as a factor here, I think it's encouraging authorities are being open about their suspicions. Fortunately, unlike a lot of other jurisdictions in Texas I've handled cases in, Harris County authorities happen to be on the leading edge of finding alcohol providers when they contribute to crashes like this. For the sake of those who still deserve answers about what all happened here, my hope is that same initiative will lead to answers and, should alcohol end up being a factor, bring to light any accomplices who still need to answer for their role in the deadly crash.