Alexandrea Johnson Killed, Alberto Villegas Flores Jr. & One Other Hurt in Accident in San Antonio, TX
San Antonio, TX -- A suspected alcohol related crash in the area of San Antonio, TX left 22-year-old Alexandrea Johnson dead, and injured 22-year-old Alberto Vargas Flores Jr. and other hurt.
The incident occurred Tuesday, March 14, 2017 around 10 p.m. at Highway 151 and Hunt Lane.
It appears a Dodge Charger occupied by Mr. Flores and Ms. Johnson approached the intersection when it ran a red light. Police say the vehicle was then struck by a Ford Fusion, who had a green light.
All three involved were transported to University Hospital in critical condition, but Ms. Johnson succumbed to her injuries a short time later.
The exact cause of the incident has not been determined, but police claim they believe alcohol was a factor.
Mr. Flores has since been charged with intoxication manslaughter.
map of the area
If the news reports are correct, then it appears the driver of the Dodge Charger faces a serious criminal charge. However, all too frequently when people read of convictions involving drunk drivers, they mistakenly believe this means victims will be automatically be compensated for their losses. This is simply not the case.
In the criminal case against drunk drivers, it is the state seeking to punish those committing the offense and likewise seeking to act as a deterrent to others from committing similar offenses.
This may give victims some peace of mind, but it doesn't do a thing to alleviate their stacks of medical bills, lost wages, and in the worst instances, funeral expenses. It's nice that society gets a victory and punishes a dangerous individual, but that doesn't do a lot for the needs of victims.
Does that mean there is no compensatory recourse for victims in drunk driving accidents? No. In fact, Texas law allows for victims to pursue compensation from bars for unlawfully over-serving their patrons.
This recourse was codified when Texas legislators passed an act that allows victims to sue bars when they negligently over-serve patrons that go out and cause accidents. This is known as the Texas Dram Shop Act.
Some might ask, "If a drunk driver caused the accident, what does that have to do with a bar? Why should they be punished for doing their job?" This act does not let drunk drivers off the hook. On the contrary, drunk drivers must still face the outcome of a criminal trial and they still have civil liability. What this law does is ensure that we, as a society, are not allowing half the guilty party to get away with their negligence scott-free.
The state seeks and receives justice in criminal cases. In order for victims to receive the justice they seek, we need laws on the books such as dram shop law to force bars to stand up and face the music.
--Grossman Law Offices