Articles Posted in DWI

The Texas DWI rate in Texas is out of control. Consider these four episodes reported in the media over the past two weeks if you don’t think we have a problem with driving while intoxicated here.

1. Drunk former NFL quarterback busted for DWI — again

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Former University of Texas legend Vince Young was arrested for the third time in two years for driving while intoxicated outside of Houston. His black Cadillac was at a stop in the middle of an intersection with its hazard lights flashing very early in the morning. The arresting officer said that Young had slurred speech, smelled of alcohol, and failed field sobriety tests.

Ticket for Texting and DrivingI call on Dallas, Fort Worth, and the other cities in North Texas to establish a car crash task force to reduce our high death and injury rate on our roads. I understand that no one wants to be stopped and given a traffic ticket. And sometimes the cop is overly aggressive and the driver hasn’t been speeding or isn’t over the blood alcohol limit. But we have a shocking 80,000 car wrecks in Dallas and Tarrant Counties every year — 220 a day — that injure and take the lives of innocent drivers.

An illuminating article last week in the Houston Chronicle followed up on its previous investigation into that city’s worst auto crash rate in the country ranking. And the newspaper found that there enforcement of traffic laws had been reduced although officials knew that fatalities and personal injuries were rising. Now, in only two days in Houston, the officers on a new task force made over 400 traffic stops, wrote almost 300 tickets, and arrested 38 people — including 23 for DWI.

You never think you will be injured in a car accident. But after work yesterday, I drove a settlement check to a client who had major surgery after a young driver ran a light. I was saddened that the poor woman is still hobbling around behind a walker six weeks later. I took her to her bank since she has no car and is not able to work.

And I met a client this morning to advance her money to help pay for the surgery she is having later today after a drunk driver crashed into her car.

It is obvious that we are not doing enough to protect the public from bad drivers.

My guess is that DFW area police would have the same results here as in Houston since we know we have a major problem.  Tarrant County has 10 “No refusal weekends” throughout the year where blood draws to curtail DWIs are mandatory. This past Super Bowl weekend was one of them and the Stock Show weekends going on down University Drive from my building are also on the list.

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Crazy Stories Show How Serious Drinking Problem Is Here

Since Texas leads the country in DWI crashes, it’s no surprise that we have a lot of them in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But the latest incidents reported just today are truly shocking.

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Darren McFadden – Collin County Sheriff’s Office

1. Ex-Dallas Cowboy Found Asleep at the Wheel

Just after midnight Monday morning, former Dallas Cowboys running back Darrren McFadden, 31, was arrested.

He had fallen asleep in the drive-through lane of a fast food restaurant in McKinney.

No doubt he had too much to drink (or smoke?) watching the NFL championship games all day but the last one had ended four hours before.

You have to wonder how drunk or stoned he had to be at that point. And glad he didn’t crash into other drivers.

You will remember that it was barely a month ago when a Dallas jury awarded $25 million to the family of a Dallas Cowboy killed after another Cowboy who had consumed 17 alcoholic beverages flipped their Mercedes over at 110 miles per hour after leaving a bar.

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Utah first state to take action to make roads safer

Utah just lowered its blood alcohol content limit from .08% to .05% on December 30th — the day before New Years Eve. What a great idea. Obviously, the fewer people who are driving while intoxicated, the safer we will all be.
Utah said it was tired of arresting an average of 29 people a day, or 54,000 people over the last five years, but see people keep drinking and crashing. And that’s in a state that’s 60% Mormon and who are not even allowed to drink any alcohol.

So what should we do in a serious drinking state like Texas?

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Happy New Year

Huge Problem Every Year: New Year’s Eve DWIs

Tonight is one of the most exciting and enjoyable holidays of the year. But some people get overly excited about the possibility of a fresh year. The holiday is synonymous with excessive consumption of alcohol. Starting on the weekend and culminating with New Year’s Eve DWIs are common. With all of the parties and events going on all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area tonight, car accidents causing serious personal injuries will increase.

To counter the increase of people who are driving while intoxicated and under the influence, this is a No Refusal Weekend across North Texas. Police departments will be out in force and will draw blood or take suspected drunks to hospitals, even without their consent. Tarrant County is particularly aggressive in pulling over drivers and prosecuting them for DWIs.

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$25 Million Awarded In DWI Crash

JFK-Memorial-with-Dallas-County-Courthouse-behind-itLate yesterday the jury found that the night club that over-served former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent was equally responsible with Brent and awarded a huge verdict of $25 million. Each of the defendants was found to be 48 percent at fault. The Dallas Cowboy who tragically died, Jerry Brown, Jr., was held to be four percent to blame. The money will be paid to Brown’s mother and his estate.

Punitive damages were almost awarded but the verdict must be unanimous and one of the twelve jurors did not vote for the additional award.
The car accident in the early morning hours on December 8, 2012 occurred six minutes after Brent and Brown left Beamers private club after they had been drinking there for several hours. Brent was driving his new Mercedes at a speed of 110 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone when he lost control on Highway 114 in Irving and his car flipped upside down.

Brent’s blood alcohol content was .18%, more than two times the legal limit in Texas. An expert for the plaintiffs testified that a man as large as Brent would have had to have consumed a shocking 17 alcoholic beverages.

Jurors rejected the arguments of the bar and its management company that Brent was intoxicated either before he entered the club or after he left.

The defense produced two servers who testified that Brent did not appear to be obviously intoxicated. However surveillance video showed him ordering three bottles of champagne and drinking from a bottle and serving himself in violation of club rules. At trial on Monday, Brent could not remember how many drinks he had consumed.

The club’s attempt to blame the passenger also failed.

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We here in Dallas-Fort Worth have some of the most dangerous roads in the U.S.

This weekend, the news media reported three deadly crashes from Friday night through Saturday night which highlight the constant dangers from bad drivers:

1. East Fort Worth: Two children, six years and 11-months-old, tragically lost their lives Saturday night on East Loop 820 at Craig Street when a speeding pickup truck hydroplaned on the highway and hit their car.

2. South Dallas: A man driving while intoxicated failed to yield the right of way and crashed into another car on East Ledbetter Drive on Saturday at midnight, taking the life of his 23-year-old passenger. The driver was arrested for intoxication manslaughter.

3. East Dallas: A woman walking on Garland Road near East Northwest Highway was struck and killed by a driver who hit-and-ran on Friday night. The driver was found only because her license plate fell off at impact.

Fatal car and truck wrecks are constant here. In Dallas on Wednesday night, a speeding driver in a Porsche 911 sports car lost control, hit another car, and flew off the ramp. He and his passenger flipped and landed below on Central Expressway, killing both. Today, former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent will testify in the case filed against the bar accused of over-serving him before he was in a crash that killed his teammate and best friend.

We at Berenson Injury Law send our sincerest condolences to the families.

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Drunk Customers, Car Crashes, And The Dram Shop Act

Background: Former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent was driving his teammate and best friend Jerry Brown, Jr. home almost exactly six years ago.  They and other Cowboys had been drinking for hours at a private night club in North Dallas. Brent hit the curb and flipped over his Mercedes in Irving at a speed of 110 miles an hour just a few minutes after leaving the bar. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter but the sentence was probated and he only served six months in jail. The deceased’s family filed a Dram Shop lawsuit against the bar in 2013. The case finally goes to trial today in Dallas.

Case: The family has claimed that Beamers Private Club was at fault because it served Brent an excessive amount of alcohol. His blood alcohol level was .18 — more than two times the legal limit. The bar denied liability and filed a cross-claim against Brent, claiming that he was the sole cause of the crash. The jury has to decide if the bar violated the Dram Shop Act by continuing to serve Brent when he was obviously intoxicated.

Questions answered in this post:

  1. What is a Dram Shop lawsuit?
  2. Can a bar or restaurant be held liable for a car or truck collision when a driver is intoxicated?
  3. What laws and court cases control the outcome of the case?
  4. Will these affect the trial of the former Dallas Cowboy?

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Enjoy Family Dinners and Football Games … and Try to Stay Clear of Drunk Drivers 

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I thoroughly enjoy sharing a meal with my family and enjoying my blessings. I’m looking forward to seeing my Texas Longhorns win and there are a lot of other great games on this weekend. 

I will also be very careful about when I drive this weekend. 

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