Nicholas Jago Martinez, One Other Hurt in Accident in Amarillo, TX
Amarillo, TX -- A suspected alcohol-related crash in the area of Amarillo, TX left 20-year-old Nicholas Jago Martinez and an unidentified female with injuries Tuesday, May 9, 2017.
The incident happened on Southwest 34th Avenue and South Ong Street around 1:24 a.m.
According to police, the victim's vehicle was struck by a vehicle driven by 21-year-old Tristan Lane Beezley. It is claimed Mr. Beezley's Dodge Charger was traveling at a high rate of speed when it crashed into the Toyota Celica driven by Nicholas Jago Martinez.
Both vehicles spun out and crashed into fences.
Mr. Martinez sustained life-threatening injuries in the incident. His unnamed female passenger was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.
Mr. Beezley was arrested on a charge of intoxicated assault.
map of the area
Taking into consideration what we know about the collision--the suspect arrested and charged with intoxicated assault, and the 1:24 a.m. time of the incident--is it unreasonable to imagine a bar might have been involved? If so, why would this detail be significant? I can't say for certain without the results of a more thorough investigation, but if the suspect was drinking at a bar beforehand, that bar might be viewed as an "accomplice" in this crash.
The hours between one a.m. and three a.m. are notoriously dangerous regarding drunk driving crashes. It's not hard to fathom considering the fact these hours right around the time most bars have announced last call, tabbing out their patrons, and sending them on their way. The fact that this crash happened around 1:24 a.m. only increases the likelihood the suspect was at a bar prior to the crash. If this was the case, that bar needs to be investigated for their hand in this crash.
Nonetheless, this isn't just a matter of opinion. The fact is the law might view this bar as complicit in enabling the suspected driver. Texas liquor liability law states that licensed alcohol retailers can be held can be held liable for over-serving individuals that cause harm as a result of their intoxication. This means victims of drunk drivers may seek compensation from bars that engage in the reckless culture of illegal over-service.
Many people take issue with the idea of suing bars for the heedless behavior of drunk drivers. However, this is not the function of dram shop law. Drunk drivers face the consequences of their actions in criminal courts. Civil law ensures that alcohol retailers are held to the standards set by society to responsibly serve a potentially dangerous product.
Again, I don't claim to have inside knowledge of this crash. Without a more thorough investigation, there's no way of knowing if the driver was at a bar beforehand. But, the fact pattern detailed by the report is a strong indicator. If the suspected driver was over-served by a bar prior to the collision, that bar broke the law and should be made to face the consequences of their indifference to the safety of others. These behaviors need to be scrutinized so that all wrong-doers in drunk driving crashes are punished, and most importantly, their victims are provided the justice they deserve.
--Grossman Law Offices