• January 25, 2017

Martha Rojas Killed, Jeremy Jax Charged in Houston, TX, Accident

Houston, TX -- January 13, 2017, a drunk driving accident occurred that resulted in the death of Martha Rojas and the arrest of Jeremy Jax.

The Houston Police Department released details concerning the fatal accident which occurred around 11:00 p.m. that night.

According to authorities, 19-year-old Jax was involved in a minor accident moments prior to the fatal one. He allegedly fled the scene of that accident, running through a red light at the Southwest Freeway and Westpark Tollway service roads in the process. In doing so, his vehicle crashed into a Toyota that was in the intersection.

As a result of the accident, 62-year-old Rojas, a passenger in the Toyota, suffered critical injuries. She was hospitalized for nearly a week before eventually succumbing to her injuries on January 20. The driver of the Toyota also suffered unspecified injuries.

Following the crash, authorities determined that Jax was intoxicated at the time of the accident. He was placed under arrest and currently faces charges of intoxication manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid.

At this time, no further information has been released.

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Commentary

It's such a shame to see a series of bad and entirely preventable decisions leading to someone's death. Drunk drivers are always held to steep consequences for their actions because an accident involving intoxication almost always causes severe damage to those involved. However, many people think that the buck stops at the drunk driver involved in the accident. The truth is that there is potentially another party which deserves to be held accountable for their contributions to the crash. If the drunk driver was served alcohol at a bar, restaurant, or other business prior to the crash, then the victims could file a claim under Dram Shop Law.

In Texas, Dram Shop Law states that business which over-serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated customer can be held liable for damages resulting from that customer's intoxication. Most people find this law controversial, thinking, "so a guy drinks a beer or two, crashes into a light pole and gets to sue the bar for his mistakes?" Dram Shop cases aren't that simple. Our firm has handled more dram shop cases than almost any other firm in the state, and most of our cases have involved a bartender serving someone upwards of 10 drinks before that person left and got into an accident.

Our laws hold licensed alcohol sellers to a higher standard that they should understand how many drinks someone can reasonably handle. Bars, restaurants, and other businesses owe a duty to handle alcohol responsibly. If they notice that person is slurring their speech, can't stand properly, or presents a clear danger to themselves or others, then they can't serve them. Failing to do this is not only failing to uphold this duty, it's breaking the law.

When a drunk driving accident happens, everybody wants to see the intoxicated driver face consequences, and they often do through facing criminal charges. Consider, though, that without Dram Shop Law, an accident would involve a family losing a loved one, a driver shackled in handcuffs, and a bar counting their profits for the night. If there is a business out there that negligently serves their customers and contributes to these kinds of accidents, then they need to be held accountable. In Texas, Dram Shop Law is our community's answer to this.

--Grossman Law Offices

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