Drunk driving continues to be a major cause of fatal car accidents across the nation, including here in New York. However, one of the most recent drunk driving tragedies receiving national attention occurred at the South by Southwest festival earlier this month. While this particular festival takes place in Texas every year, it draws attention to the dangers of drunk driving and the safety of entertainment festivals in New York and other states as well.
The pedestrian accident occurred when a police officer started checking drivers for DWIs. One driver attempted to avoid getting caught by driving through a gas station and going the wrong way on a one-way street. The officer followed the suspect, who ended up speeding through a barricade and crashing into multiple festival goers. The accident injured 23 people and killed two. As of recently, five people were still under hospital care.
The driver has been charged with two counts of capital murder and various counts of aggravated assault. Since the original charges, one more person has died from the accident. The case will be presented to a Grand Jury and they will determine if other charges need to be filed.
Officers believe that the drunk driver's actions were intentional and that he was driving a stolen car at the time of the incident. The 21-year-old driver has been convicted of various crimes in the past. He has been convicted of criminal trespass and being a minor under the influence. He also pled guilty to a DUI charge in 2011.
Drivers who behave recklessly by being behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol can be held liable for injuries and damages that occur as a result of their negligent driving. By filing a lawsuit, victims and their families may be able to cope with what happened and move forward with their lives with a little financial stability and comfort.
Source: Rolling Stone, "2 Dead, 21 injured in SXSW Hit-and-Run," Jason Newman, March 13, 2014