Jeremy Brazzel, Mary Chenoweth Killed in Southlake, TX, Accident
Southlake, TX -- January 22, 2017, Jeremy Brazzel and Mary Chenoweth were killed following an accident involving a wrong-way driver.
Southlake Police officials were called to the accident scene around 1:00 a.m. near the intersection of Highway 114 and Kimball Avenue.
According to their preliminary reports, 40-year-old Brazzel and 58-year-old Chenoweth were in separate vehicles each traveling in opposite directions. Police did not specify who, but one of their vehicles was traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes of the highway. As a result, the other vehicle could not avoid a collision, and the two cars crashed head-on.
Both Brazzel and Chenoweth suffered fatal injuries in the accident. They were declared deceased at the scene. A passenger from one of the vehicles suffered injuries and was taken to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Grapevine. Their injuries weren't specified.
At this time, authorities have not mentioned what factors might have caused the accident. Their investigations are ongoing.
Map of the Area
I'm not trying to jump to any conclusions here, but I've seen enough wrong-way accidents happening in early morning hours on the weekend to suspect alcohol is a strong possibility in this accident. It's not exactly easy to get on the wrong side of the highway when you're sober, and the accident happening at 1:00 a.m. is also a pretty strong sign one of the drivers may have been intoxicated. If this happens to be the case, it needs to be determined if the drunk driver was drinking at a bar or a restaurant prior to the accident.
The reason this is an important detail is because of something called Dram Shop Law. In Texas, a business which over-serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated customer can be held liable for damages resulting from that intoxication. This isn't just some guy drinking a beer or two and crashing into a light pole. More often than not, a Dram Shop case involved someone who was served upward of 9 or 10 drinks before they left got behind the wheel of a car and either harmed themselves or someone else. As we all know all too well, drunk driving accidents rarely have happy endings.
When a bar over-serves their customer, they are directly contributing to the possibility of someone being seriously hurt or killed in an accident. By acquiring a license, a business has the knowledge to be reasonably aware of when someone has had too much to drink. If a customer presents a clear danger to themselves or others as a result of their intoxication and a business serves them anyway, they are breaking the law. Our community has deemed that bars, restaurants, and other licensed vendors are a line of defense against the general public and intoxicated drivers. By failing to live up to the standards to which our laws hold them, they are failing to uphold the law.
For this reason, Texas law allows victims and their families to file claim against a negligent business which contributes to intoxication related accidents. Without these kinds of laws, you'd have families losing their loved ones, drunk drivers going to jail, and some bar counting their profits for the night. Irresponsible and reckless service of alcohol deserves to be punished. Drunk drivers face consequences for their actions; it's only fair that businesses who neglect to follow the law are held accountable for their actions as well.
--Grossman Law Offices