Driver Who Fled Scene Arrested Hours After Violent Dallas Crash
A toddler, a three year-old and their mother were seriously injured when a driver smashed into their car and then took off last Monday night. The family was driving a Ford sedan near Fair Park along Haskell Avenue around 10.40 p.m. when the driver of a white van ran a red light and broadsided their vehicle. Although both children were in car seats, the three year-old child was ejected because the seat was improperly installed. Instead of stopping to render aid, the driver of the van drove away.
The father, who avoided injury, flagged down a passing motorist for help. The good Samaritan and the father chased the driver for two miles until the van finally broke down on Reiger Avenue. The driver escaped on foot.
Fortunately, the police found and arrested the fleeing driver early Tuesday morning, only hours after the automobile crash. Jose Cruz Hernandez Martinez was charged with failure to render aid and intoxication assault for the hit-and-run accident.
Hit-and-Run Drivers Face Tough Penalties Under New Texas Law
Texas Transportation Code Chapters 550.001 through 550.023
requires a driver to stop at the scene of an accident involving
personal injuries or property damages and to render aid to injury
Drunk drivers often flee an accident to avoid DUI
charges. However, a Texas statute passed last year applies the same
sentence to a hit-and-run fatality
and an intoxicated manslaughter conviction. A fleeing driver now faces a second-degree felony for leaving an accident that causes death and may
be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison — just as in a DUI homicide
case. In addition, a driver who flees a scene where a person was
seriously injured may be charged with a third-degree felony that carries up to 10 years of incarceration.
Prior to passage of the Texas
legislation, penalties for a DUI were much higher than for a fleeing the scene conviction. In addition, prosecutors typically could not prove a
person was drunk at the time of the accident if hours passed before
blood alcohol content and impairment could be tested. A drunk driver,
therefore, had an incentive to flee, according to a spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Likely, Mr. Hernandez Martinez was unaware of the new law when he left the injured family at the accident scene.
Were You Injured by a Hit-and-Run Driver?
Bill Berenson has helped victims of DUI and hit-and-run accidents
throughout the DFW area for 34 years. As a strong supporter of MADD,
Mr. Berenson hopes to play a part in preventing drunk driving tragedies
like the one that occurred last week in Dallas. If you are the victim of a DUI or a hit-and-run accident, our dedicated team will help you get
the justice you deserve.
Call our Dallas-Fort Worth office at
817-885-8000 or toll-free at 1-888-801-8585 to schedule a free
consultation with our experienced personal injury attorney.