Miguel Hernandez Killed, Two Injured in Alleged DUI Accident in San Antonio, TX
San Antonio, TX -- A multi-vehicle alleged DUI incident claimed the life of 18-year-old Miguel Hernandez and left two people injured in San Antonio, TX Saturday, January 7, 2017.
Sources say a vehicle driven by 49-year-old Richard Sanchez was driving the wrong way for almost three miles on I-35. Somewhere near the 11700 block of I-35, his vehicle collided with five different vehicles. One vehicle, a 2016 Ford van, was pushed into the grass median, subsequently colliding with the center barrier cables. Officials say that collision left 18-year-old Miguel Hernandez dead, and wounded an unidentified 58-year-old woman as well as a two-year-old boy.
The cause of the incident is unclear, but police say they believe Mr. Sanchez was intoxicated at the time of the incident. He has since been charged with multiple offenses related to the crash.
The report also claims that Mr. Sanchez was found wearing a wrist band from a drinking establishment at the site of the incident.
The official investigation is ongoing.
map of the area
When a guy allegedly gets on a highway, the wrong way, drives for three miles, leaves a demolition derby in his wake, and still has the wrist band from a bar at the time of the accident, does that sound like someone who may have had one too many? Perhaps, 10 too many?
It's these types of accidents that prompted lawmakers in the state of Texas to adopt what is known as a dram shop law. The dram shop law states that establishments that unlawfully serve alcohol to obviously intoxicated individuals can be held accountable if these individuals go on to harm themselves or others.
When creating this area of law, the legislature had to answer the question, do we have liquor laws in Texas just so we can feel like alcohol is regulated and the community protected, or are there actual consequences for bars that blatantly break the rules? To this end, bars that truly have a bad day and don't habitually over-serve drivers are shielded from liability by certain provisions (known as Safe Harbor) within the law.
In our experience, which includes litigating more dram shop cases than almost any other firm in Texas, the bars that get in trouble are the ones who completely ignore the rules. It would be tough to argue that the bar that over-served the individual who allegedly caused this accident was just having a bad night. I've heard of drunk, falling down drunk, and black-out drunk. We don't even have a name for "drive the wrong way down an interstate and cause multiple accidents" drunk.
While using a mixture of experience and common sense is enough to infer all of this from the facts presented in the media, intuition doesn't fly in front of a jury. So while Texas law afford victims of those who have been illegally over-served remedies, the law doesn't lift a finger to make those remedies bear fruit.
Instead, the only way to gather the evidence necessary to hold a bar accountable is with an independent investigation, conducted by someone with experience in this area of the law. I'm fairly certain, based upon my experience, while there are bars that will giddily over-serve a patron to a ridiculous degree, when they are hear about an accident such as this in the news, they aren't so eager to raise their hands and say that the alleged drunk driver was drinking at their establishment.
--Grossman Law Offices