It has barely been a year since the horrific "affluenza" crash in Burleson caused by a drunk teen. The outrageously intoxicated 16 year old Ethan Couch drove his father's company's Ford 350 into a group of innocent bystanders, killing four people, and critically injured a fine young man whom I represented.
Couch's blood alcohol content was .24% -- three times the legal limit if he were 21 years old.
Now another drunk teenager has just crashed his truck west of Fort Worth and killed his passenger. Sadly, it was just announced that a 16 year old from Weatherford died this week at John Peter Smith Hospital. My prayers go out to his family.
The 19 year old man from Alvarado, Buddy Barnes, was driving his 1994 Ford Taurus while intoxicated at 1:00 a.m. Saturday night. Seven of his friends were packed inside. Barnes missed a curve, drove off the road, and crashed into two trees. He and a young passenger were ejected from the car.
This happened on Dennis Road outside of Weatherford, not far from the Sugartree course where I've played golf, so I am familiar with the location.
The medical condition of Barnes and the other five teens is not known at this time.
Barnes was charged with DWI and now faces a charge of intoxication manslaughter. What an absolute tragedy, all the way around.
Affluenza Teen Case Similarities
It is impossible not to draw a connection between this crash and the now infamous "affluenza" one. As you may know from previous posts or the news coverage, my client was a fine young man who is now tragically paralyzed after he was also thrown out of his vehicle. Fortunately, we were able to successfully resolve the case in court, but I think about him frequently and pray that doctors can help him recover from his injuries.
We have to crack down on drunk drivers in Texas. We have more of them here than in any other state, even California, which has 12 million more people. A shocking 1,296 people died from these crashes in 2012. This figure increased 7% from the year before. The problem is out of control.
In my practice, I've seen that drunk driving crashes are often the most serious auto accidents, because they are often high speed, head-on crashes. Here's a photo of my poor clients' car in a case that I'm working on now.
I hate drunk drivers, and go after them with a vengeance. I settled another case for the drunk driver's full insurance limits yesterday. I'm also a proud supporter of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and am pleased to be one of its only approved attorneys in Tarrant County.
Here are more frightening statistics about drunk driving collisions:
Alcohol-fueled injuries hurt almost 17,000 people in 2012;
There were over 25,000 alcohol-related crashes were over 25,000 that year;
Last year in Tarrant and Dallas Counties, 121 people were killed and 1,261 others were seriously injured by DWI drivers;