According to USNews, around 11:45 p.m. on October 11, 2022, Dallas Police radio traffic recorded officers trying to stop a wrong-way driver headed south in the northbound lanes of Spur 408. At the same time, Dallas Police Officer Jacob Arellano was traveling the same stretch of road headed in to work his next shift. Officers were unsuccessful at their attempts to stop the wrong-way driver. Reports indicate that the 30-year-old female driver crashed her sedan head-on into Officer Arellano’s SUV. The impact forced his vehicle into another lane of travel where it was struck by a semi. The impact from the collision caused the SUV to roll several times before coming to rest on the shoulder of the road. Fellow officers responded to the crash. He was transported to Methodist Hospital before succumbing to his injuries. A procession from the hospital to the Medical Examiner’s office was held in his honor. He leaves behind an 8-month-old son. The wrong-way driver whose name has not been released, is hospitalized with serious injuries. Officers believe she was intoxicated at the time of the crash. Formal charges have not been brought against her but Intoxication Manslaughter is expected.
As shocking as this crash seems, it is becoming an all-too-common subject in the news. Within approximately 48 hours, Dallas police responded to two drunk driving fatalities. One took the life of this officer and another the life of an 8-year-old boy. Both were young and had their whole life ahead of them. What a senseless act. We don’t have details about the drunk driver involved in this crash. According to the CDC, the average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before getting caught. 80 times! Many of these drivers go on to receive multiple convictions before their recklessness claims the life of someone. Meanwhile, a person has lost their life and a family and friends are grieving. This is no doubt a difficult time for everyone involved and the process of dealing with an investigation and claim is often far from their minds. There is no doubt in my mind that a thorough investigation will be performed in this crash. It seems clear who is at-fault in this crash but there may be another responsible party, the establishment who provided the alcohol to the drunk driver. Texas has what is referred to as the Dram Shop Act which allows victims and their families the ability to sue a bar, restaurant, store, or other alcohol provider for their loss if they sold alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person. If an establishment is involved and liable, there may be additional policies available for recovery and hitting the alcohol providers in their wallet may be the only way to deter drunk driving. This process can be time consuming and difficult to navigate so hiring an experienced third-party for their expertise and support can make all the difference.