1 Killed, 7 Injured in Houston, TX, DWI Accident on I-45N
Houston, TX -- January 14, 2017, one person was killed, seven injured, due to an accident where an alleged drunk driver struck an SUV on I-45N.
Authorities from the Houston Police Department responded to the fatal accident scene at around 1:30 a.m. It took place in the northbound lanes of I-45 near Memory Lane.
According to police officials, a man was driving an SUV on the service road along I-45. As he was driving, he lost control of the vehicle, causing it to swerve over the grassy area on the side of I-45 and enter traffic lanes of the highway.
In doing so, the SUV crashed into the side of a Toyota Rav4 carrying 7 young women. This collision caused both SUVs to spin out of control, sending the Toyota and the other SUV spinning across traffic lanes before coming to a stop.
Due to the severity of the collision, one passenger of the Toyota suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene. The other 6 women were seriously injured, and EMS transported them to a local hospital for treatment.
The driver of the other SUV was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Authorities discovered that the man was intoxicated at the time of the accident. They arrested him, and he currently faces charges of intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault.
No further information is currently available.
Map of the Area
I don't want to jump to any conclusions here, but considering the time at which this accident occurred, it's not unreasonable to assume the alleged drunk driver in this accident was coming from a bar, club, or restaurant when the accident happened. A lot of drunk driving accidents happen in these early morning hours right around last call. If the allegations in this accident are true, then it will be up to a criminal trial jury to determine this man's fate. When determining liability for the accident, a lot of people only think about the drunk driver. What many people don't know is that in Texas, a business can be held liable for a drunk driving accident. This is due to Dram Shop Law.
In Texas, Dram Shop Law states that a licensed business which over-serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person can be held liable for an accident if that person, as a result of their intoxication, hurts themselves or others. In basic terms, if a bar, restaurant, or liquor store sells alcohol to someone who already presents a clear danger to themselves and others, they can be held responsible for damages that person causes.
The reason for this is pretty simple: it's illegal to over-serve alcohol to people. In order to sell alcohol in the state of Texas, a business agrees to handle the substance responsibly. That means their workers should reasonably be able to tell when a customer has already reached the point of intoxication and not serve them any more alcohol. Sometimes this is easy to determine, such as surveillance footage from the establishment showing the customer stumbling around due to being drunk. Other times, evidence may be more subtle, such as receipts, witness testimonies, and blood draws.
Regardless, if it turns out a business over-served one of their customers and that person went out and hurt or killed somebody, then the business needs to be held accountable for their actions. This law is sometimes controversial as people see it as taking accountability away from drunk drivers. This actually isn't the case. Our laws hold drunk drivers responsible for their actions through criminal charges. Our civil law holds negligent businesses responsible by making them liable for over-serving their customers. Alcohol can be a dangerous substance when handled improperly, so businesses that show a disregard for public safety need to face the consequences of their actions. Our community has decided that over-serving alcohol is irresponsible, unsafe, and illegal. Bars, restaurants, and other businesses that disregard this law deserve to be held accountable.
--Grossman Law Offices