Articles Posted in DWI

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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. 

There’s been a lot of controversy over issues related to the NFL lately. But one issue that isn’t getting as much attention as it deserves is the serious connection between NFL games and DWI’s. For example, there was another driving while intoxicated arrest last week of a NFL player.

The arrest occurred at 6:30 in the evening after Aaron Neary had watched the Rams defeat the Cardinals. A Los Angeles area police department reported receiving numerous calls about a driver who had crashed into a bus stop sign, trash cans, and mailboxes. Police pulled over Neary. His Breathalyzer test showed that he had a blood alcohol level of .17% — more than twice the legal limit there and in Texas. Police arrested Neary for driving while intoxicated and causing property damage.

At least no one was hurt. But if he had hit another vehicle, cyclist, or pedestrian, the outcome could have been far worse and even fatal. Often drunk drivers don’t realize they are driving in a school zone or at another pedestrian crossing. People who drive at this high level of intoxication put everyone at risk.

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Fort Worth car collisions have surged due to overly tired drivers

We all know that we have too many collisions in Fort Worth. While everyone will agree that intoxicated drivers must be stopped, not many people understand that tired drivers are just as dangerous.

Driving while exhausted (DWE) is far more common than driving while intoxicated (DWI), but you rarely hear about it. We need to publicize this forgotten cause of crashes so they can be stopped.

Just two days ago in Fort Worth, an overly tired driver caused a horrible wreck here two days ago. A man fell asleep at 3:00 p.m. while he was driving on Interstate 35 in far north Fort Worth. This caused him to crash his vehicle into the guard rail and tragically take the life of his passenger, 25-year-old Sarah Million.

You might wonder how someone can fall asleep in the middle of the day and still be driving a car or truck, right? But a whopping 32% of people have admitted that they had driven at least one time in the last month when they could barely keep their eyes open.

62% of drivers admit to regularly driving when they are too tired to do so safely. Many people are chronically sleep-deprived. Some thrive on how far they can push themselves and how long they can stay up.

Over 100,000 car collisions are caused by overly tired drivers each year in our country. They took the lives of over 5,000 people — and this is just in reported cases where the police can determine the cause of death, which is obviously impossible a one car crash. And that doesn’t begin to account for the hundreds of thousands of injuries, not to mention near-misses.

If the Fort Worth driver was that tired, he should have pulled over, bought a Coke or cup of coffee, let the passenger drive, or better yet, stayed home and taken a nap. Driving is not an automatic right that a person can exercise if he or she is too tired or impaired. DWE isn’t illegal but it has the same effect as DWI. A crash is a crash.

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Texans witnessed these three calamities in the last three days:

  1. Ethan Couch was released from jail after only two years for killing four people and crippling our client;
  2. Lou Diamond Phillips was sentenced after his DWI arrest; and
  3. A drunk driver crashed early this morning in Dallas, killing her passenger.

Why do driving while intoxicated collisions keep happening?

If law enforcement and courts don’t crack down on outrageous drunk drivers (#1) and high profile movie stars and celebrities are constantly being shown after they are busted (#2), what can we expect?

Last year, over 3,700 Texans tragically died due to intoxicated drivers. That’s shameful.

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Text out the invites, put out the snacks, and make sure your television is set to go. The New England patriots face off against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in Super Bowl LII.

This is Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s eighth Super Bowl and Justin Timberlake’s second. (Will his performance be as memorable as the infamous wardrobe malfunction?) Pop singer Pink will perform the national anthem and Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr. will perform “America the Beautiful.” They both have announced they’re routing for the Eagles.

It’s going to be an exciting game and amazing entertainment.  What’s the best way to spoil the evening? A car crash. Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most dangerous times of the year to be driving. Continue reading

Have you seen a driver keep drifting into your lane, hitting the rumble strip or running a red light until another driver beeps the horn and he slams on his brakes?

The driver is drunk, right? No, maybe he or she fell asleep at the wheel.

The effects of sleep deprivation are similar to alcohol consumption. Going 20 hours without sleep is equivalent to drinking until you have reached a .08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which would put you legally over the limit. Unlike drinking, however, you may not worry about feeling a little tired.

Presumably everyone knows that drunk driving is dangerous. But the seriousness of drowsy driving is not widely appreciated.

A person who would not consider getting behind the wheel after getting wasted at a bar might think nothing about doing so after being awake all night or only getting five hours of sleep. Continue reading

Based on our first week, unfortunately no.

After an extremely dangerous New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day caused by icy roads and the drunks driving on them, the first week in North Texas started on a sad note with four people dying in car accidents Six people tragically were killed here since that time.

And on Friday police announced the cause of the crash that killed former Dallas Cowboys receiver Terry Glenn in Irving several months ago.

The causes of this weekend’s fatal Dallas-Fort Worth auto accidents were the usual suspects:

  • Rear-end collision at intersection. A mother and her seven year-old daughter were killed when their passenger van was struck from behind while making a left turn. The driver of the pickup truck that rear-ended the van claimed not to have seen the vehicle at the Johnson County intersection. In other words, he wasn’t paying attention.
  • Drunk driver heading wrong way. A wrong-way driver on Texas 121 in Grapevine killed a Fort Worth man when he crashed head-on into his vehicle. The wrong-way driver was drunk at the time, and he survived with only minor injuries, of course. He’s been charged with intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle and intoxication assault with a vehicle.

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The New Year’s Eve forecast calls for extremely low temperatures, possible and dangerous driving conditions Not exactly the weather we had hoped for to ring in the new year.

Happy New Year

And to make our roads even worse, drunk driving will also spike this weekend. Alcohol already accounts for one-third of all fatal accidents and that number skyrockets to 42 percent on New Year’s Eve.

I passed a crash at an intersection driving into the office this morning — and the weekend hasn’t even started yet.

But you can still enjoy a happy and safe new year’s celebration.  Continue reading

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