WFAA-TV reported on February 27, 2023, that two Dallas police officers suffered injuries after their patrol car crashed with a pickup truck. The truck driver was facing driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges.
The crash happened near North Field and Ross Avenue in downtown Dallas, and the officers were driving north on Field Street when the crash happened. Police said one officer had to be taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, while the other was treated at the scene.
The driver of the pickup truck was also taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries but the release did not mention the passenger in the truck. The driver of the pickup truck is facing a DWI charge.
The front of the police car was badly damaged in the crash, and the airbags in the truck were deployed. A little more than one week before that story, WFAA also reported that Dallas police said 10-year officer Senior Corporal Allison Brockford was on administrative leave following an arrest for suspicion of DWI.
Police said Brockford was off duty at the time and was taken into custody. Officer Brockford has been with Dallas police since Sept. 2012 and is assigned to their Community Affairs department as a LGBTQ+ Liaison Officer.
On February 7, 2023, the Texas Tribune reported that State Senator Charles Schwertner was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, according to Travis County sheriff’s office records. Schwertner’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Texas Tribune and his attorney did not respond to a request from the Tribune.
A day after the arrest, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick castigated Schwertner for his actions. “There is zero excuse for driving under the influence and putting lives in danger, in particular by a member of the legislature whose conduct should be held to a higher standard,” Patrick said in a statement. “I will await the final outcome of this issue in court before making any further statement on the matter.”
Schwertner was arrested around 12:45 a.m., when an Austin police officer saw the black Cadillac he was driving “swerving to the right and the left and split the two lanes repeatedly.” The officer followed the car and saw it continue to swerve between lanes, before the officer stopped the car and the driver identified himself as Schwertner.
The officer said Schwertner had “bloodshot, glassy, watery eyes, was confused, and had slurred speech patterns.” The officer also said Schwertner had “a strong odor of alcoholic beverage on his breath.”
Schwertner missed the Senate’s scheduled meeting and the Business and Commerce Committee’s meeting. KDFW-TV reported in January that a woman was in critical condition and was charged with DWI after crashing into the back of a Dallas Fire-Rescue truck.
The crash happened in the southbound lanes of North Stemmons Freeway, near Storey Lane. Firefighters were already on the scene for a previous crash and were using a blocker truck for traffic management.
While DFR crews were on scene, the woman crashed into the back of the blocker truck. She was taken to a local hospital in critical condition, where police said she was charged with driving while intoxicated. No firefighters were injured.
On February 5, 2023, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that a 64-year-old Grand Prairie man died after he was hit by a vehicle as he stood near his 2019 Toyota 4Runner on Texas 360 in Arlington. An Arlington man who police suspect was intoxicated was arrested after he later crashed his Jeep into a vehicle involved in the fatal wreck.
Multiple officers and a tow truck driver who were in the roadway were able to get out of the way of the Jeep. Arlington police identified the suspected drunken driver as a 53-year-old man who now faces charges of DWI and reckless driving.
When Arlington police arrived, they found the 64-year-old man lying unresponsive in the roadway. At about that time, a 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage traveling southbound in the far right lane of Texas 360 was coming over a hill.
As the driver of the Mirage saw the 4Runner stopped in front of him, he tried to brake and avoid the SUV. Slick road conditions caused the Mirage to slide and it sideswiped the 4Runner, hitting the 64-year-old man.
Police said the driver of the Mirage eventually came to a stop, immediately called 911, and remained on scene until first responders arrived. A black Jeep driving without its headlights on went around the patrol vehicles blocking the roadway and continued southbound on Texas 360 before colliding with the 4Runner while several officers and a tow truck driver were in the roadway.
The officers and the tow truck driver managed to get out of the way and no one was injured. The accident was one of at least three in Tarrant County with fatalities late Thursday night or early Friday morning as road conditions worsened during refreezing overnight.
On February 22, 2023, KDFW-TV reported that it had obtained video evidence from the scene of a deadly DWI crash that killed an off-duty Euless police officer.
Police released video evidence from the investigation into the bartender they say served that drunk driver so much vodka that his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. The story said that in November 2021, a man drunkenly crashed his rental Jeep into a sedan while driving at a high rate-of-speed through a Lake Worth intersection.
Moments after the crash, the 26-year-old man ran away from the scene but did not make it far, as a neighbor held the man down and cussed him out. The driver of the sedan was off-duty Euless Police Detective Alex Cervantes, who died at the scene although his wife and two boys suffered injuries but survived.
The man ultimately took a plea deal and pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter, sentenced to 15 years in prison. The bartender is facing a misdemeanor charge for allegedly overserving the man before the crash.
The bartender served the man eight double vodka Red Bull cocktails the Saturday morning in question. As the man began to leave the parking lot, he was involved in a minor crash and drove away, killing Cervantes moments later.
WFAA reported that as part of the plea, Tarrant County Judge Tamla Ray sentenced the man to 15 years for intoxication manslaughter and 10 years for each intoxication assault charge. All those sentences will run concurrently, which means Molina will serve all of his sentences at the same time.
WFAA also reported that the family of the Euless detective who was killed by a drunk driver in late November 2021 was suing Fuzzy’s Tacos and General Motors. At the time of the incident, the man told police he’d had three double vodka Red Bull drinks at the Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.
This was later proven untrue, as the man had actually completed seven double vodka Red Bull drinks and partially drank an eighth. Police gave the man a breathalyzer at the scene, which showed his blood alcohol content was 0.144.
Investigation following the collision showed Molina had arrived at Fuzzy’s at 10:37 a.m. and had nearly eight drinks in about two-and-a-half hours. Security footage showed the man walk through a door behind the bar from an area restricted to employees, and the bartender Cala Richardson telling him to go back to his seat.
The bartender was charged with one count of sale to certain persons, a class A misdemeanor, for allegedly overserving the man. The sale of alcohol to a drunk person is forbidden by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Neither Richardson nor her manager, Jayline Barbosa, had their TABC server certificate, license or permit at the time of the incident. The suit argues that Fuzzy’s Tacos Companies Employee Handbook had an “inadequate, defective and negligent Alcohol Server Policy.”
The suit states no evidence was shown that any termination or counseling occurred. Because of this, the suit argues Fuzzy’s Taco Companies are vicariously liable for the bartender’s and the man’s actions.
At the time of the collision, the suit states a defective occupant restraint system failed to restrain the occupant’s movement during the crash, nor use a center-mounted airbag, which the suit argues created an unreasonable risk of impact injuries to the front seat occupants of the vehicles. The suit states General Motors has stated before that it is irrelevant who caused an accident, and that safety systems have to perform properly no matter who causes an accident.
Counts against General Motors include strict liability and defective design. The man is also being sued for negligence in the incident.
Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Dallas DWI Attorney
When a person is arrested for any kind of DWI offense in Texas, it will be important for them to retain legal counsel without delay. Many of these stories demonstrate some of the problems people can be dealing with following a drunk driving arrest.
The Euless detective case certainly calls attention to Texas dram shop laws, which provide that alcohol providers can be held liable for damages caused by intoxicated patrons if it was apparent to the provider that the patron was “obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others,” and the intoxication of the patron was a proximate cause of the damages suffered. Dram shop concerns do not necessarily translate to social hosts in Texas unless they provide alcohol to people under 21 years of age.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy has extensive experience defending people against all kinds of DWI charges, from first arrests to second arrests to third or subsequent DWI charges. We also regularly handle DWI cases involving intoxication assault, intoxication manslaughter, and DWI with child passenger offenses.
Our firm knows how to seek a reduction of DWI penalties in these cases, and our firm will be committed to helping you achieve the most favorable possible outcome to your case. You can have us review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (972) 233-5700 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.