Jose Zarate Killed in Lubbock, TX, Drunk Driving Accident
Lubbock, TX -- July 8, 2016, Jose Zarate was killed following an accident where his vehicle crashed head-on with alleged drunk driver Kenyal Chambers.
The Lubbock Police Department responded to the fatal accident scene at approximately 9:27 p.m. The crash occurred on Avenue Q near the intersection of 34th Street.
Their reports indicate that 37-year-old Zarate was driving a Honda Civic southbound on Avenue Q. Ahead of him, 29-year-old Chambers was reportedly driving northbound in the southbound lanes of travel. As a result, Zarate could not avoid the other vehicle in time, and a head-on collision occurred. Both vehicles then crashed into a Chevy Tahoe.
Authorities say that Zarate was killed in the crash. Chambers suffered critical injuries and was treated at University Medical Center. Another person was injured in the Tahoe, but injuries did not appear serious.
Police say that hospital records showed Chambers had a BAC level of .162 percent following the accident. As a result of this, authorities placed Chambers under arrest on January 9, 2017. He was indicted on January 17.
No further information is currently available.
Map of the Area
At this time, it isn't up to me to speculate how things will go in relation to Mr. Chambers's criminal charges. Considering this accident happened around 9:00 p.m., it's not unreasonable to assume the drunk driver was on his way home from a bar or another establishment after having too much to drink. Whether or not that's the case will require further investigation, of course, but I've seen a lot of accidents happen just like this, and Lubbock has definitely seen its fair share of them.
Looking at DOT statistics, there are about 260 drunk driving accidents a year. That might not sound like much compared to, say, Houston, but Houston has about 9 times the population of Lubbock. If Lubbock had Houston's population, it could have around 2300 drunk driving accidents a year--900 more than Houston's 1400.
These numbers illustrate just how serious drunk driving is in Texas. For this reason, our community has deemed it reasonable that everyone who is responsible for an accident should be held accountable for their actions. For this reason, victims of drunk driving accidents can file claims against businesses which serve alcohol to drunk drivers.
Specifically, Texas Dram Shop Law states that a business which over-serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated customer can be held liable if that person, as a result of their intoxication, goes out and hurts themselves or others. This isn't just a guy drinking two beers, bumping his head, and suing the pants off a bar. In most Dram Shop cases our firm has handled, bars or restuarants over-served these people 8-10 drinks.
Some people think this is unfair to businesses since they're being punished for another person's actions. Think of it this way. A bar, restaurant, or liquor store has to acquire a license to sell liquor. In Texas, that license comes with rules and regulations, much like a driver's license. Part of those regulations recognize that alcohol can be dangerous if handled irresponsibly. Our legislature determined that bartenders and servers are often put in positions where they can prevent accidents like this one from happening by refusing service to an intoxicated individual. Due to this, our laws require that businesses adhere to these standards and ensure they are not over-serving their customers.
When a drunk driver gets behind the wheel and hurts someone, they are held accountable under our criminal law system. It's only fair that a business that is complicit in such an accident is held accountable for their actions as well. Otherwise, you would have victims who are dead and/or injured, a driver facing prison time, and bar out there counting their money. By disregarding our laws, bars and other business which over-serve their customers deserve to be held accountable for their negligence, and victims and their families deserve to be compensated for their pains.
--Grossman Law Offices