A former bartender was recently arrested for her role leading up to a crash that claimed the life of an off-duty Euless, TX officer and left his wife in a coma for a month and children with injuries. This crash has become high-profile since a video following the crash has made media headlines showing the driver fleeing the scene and being stopped by a bystander. This makes me wonder why it seems all the other drunk driving crashes claiming lives and injuring people don’t end in criminal prosecution of the bartender and civil lawsuits against the bar. Most drunk driving cases don’t usually make the headlines and bartenders rarely get arrested. Would the same attention be given is an officer and his family weren’t involved? While I don’t know the answer to this question, the facts seem to indicate that most drunk driving cases don’t result in a bartender being charged. Perhaps evidence is lacking in some cases, but in many there is a trail that can be traced back to too many drinks being served. Frequently, people like to share their night on the town on social media and photos may be found showing a table littered with alcoholic beverages that coincides with a receipt or video of a person staggering to their vehicle, so there is likely enough evidence in many of these cases to charge the bartender. I realize that many law enforcement agencies are struggling to keep up with the increase in criminal investigations, so this burden must necessarily fall to the victims and their families. A victim really must be their own advocate by pushing for a thorough investigation and criminal prosecution when a crime has been committed by a bartender.
In the case involving Detective Cervantes, Jr. and his family, it seems that those involved are being brought to justice. And though you cannot bring back a loved one, it is comforting to know that a dangerous person will no longer be able to repeat their offense. But for countless others, more can be done to eliminate drunk driving. It starts by stopping it at its source through the criminal prosecution of the drunk driver and those responsible for overserving the patron. It ends when the establishment has paid the victims for their loses and these stories are few and far between. Let’s make the example of this drunk driving case a blueprint for the future.