• February 19, 2018

Laurie Reynolds Killed, Justin Vinson Charged in Corpus Christi, TX, Wrong-Way Accident

Corpus Christi, TX -- February 16, 2018, Laurie Beth Reynolds was killed after an accident where an alleged drunk driver crashed while driving the wrong way down the interstate.

Authorities with the Corpus Christi Police Department released preliminary information surrounding the incident. They say it happened at around 1:00 a.m. near I-37 and Clarkwood Road.

Preliminary investigations state that 30-year-old Justin Vinson was driving a 12-seater van northbound along the southbound lanes of the interstate. As he did so, the van crossed paths with an oncoming car. This resulted in a head-on collision.

As a result of the collision, 29-year-old Reynolds, the driver of the oncoming car, suffered fatal injuries. EMS officials pronounced Reynolds deceased at the scene. Vinson went to a hospital in stable condition.

Police investigators report that the van driver showed signs of intoxication following the accident. Currently, he faces intoxication manslaughter charges.

Map of the Area

Commentary

Whenever I see a wrong-way accident on an interstate, my immediate thought is whether or not alcohol was involved. Far too many of these accidents happen on our highways, and most of them end up involving intoxicated drivers. It seems police believe that to be the case here as well. This is an important factor worth addressing, but there are other important factors to consider as well.

The first question to ask in an accident like this is whether the at-fault vehicle was a personal vehicle or a work vehicle. It's possible that if the vehicle in question is used for work, then it has a commercial insurance policy rather than a typical car insurance policy. Why is this important? Well having litigated hundreds of commercial vehicle accidents, I can say from experience few entities fight harder to avoid liability than a commercial insurance adjuster. They have a lot to lose in accidents like these, so no matter how egregious or tragic the accident is, they're likely to fight tooth and nail to avoid responsibility. The sooner victims and families can prepare for those challenges, the better.

The second question to ask after a wrong-way crash is, if alcohol contributed to the accident, where did the driver get their alcohol? The reason this is such a crucial detail is because in Texas it's illegal for an alcohol provider to over-serve an obviously intoxicated customer. If they do so, and that customer then causes an accident as a result, then that establishment bears some responsibility for the accident.

Let's look at this accident, for example. First of all, it happened at 1:00 a.m. This during the peak hours for drunk driving accidents. People go out to bars late at night and early in the morning. Approaching closing time (2:00 a.m.), those people leave those establishments and try to drive home or to their next destination. On top of that, this driver was on the wrong side of an interstate. If it was a one-way street, that would be one thing. But a major highway with concrete barriers and ramps? Someone would have to be in an extreme state of confusion to make that kind of mistake and not turn around. That's why, if alcohol contributed to the accident, it's likely the driver was significantly intoxication. As such, it's possible a bar's reckless over-service caused that.

Some people read about an accident like this and believe that the fact pattern, shocking as it is, is straight-forward. As you can see, nothing about this is straight-forward. A tragic fatal accident often involves an incredible amount of complexity. As such, there needs to be a thorough independent investigation to properly address all factors surrounding the incident.

--Grossman Law Offices

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