Bluff Dale, Texas — Two men died and a woman was injured after a head-on car accident this past Sunday morning in rural Bluff Dale, which is in Erath County. Police said that Alex Wong, 57, was killed along with Dustin McJunkin, 27, after their cars were in a head-on wreck along U.S. 377.
Also injured in the accident was Nellwyn Wong, 63, who was a passenger in Alex Wong’s car, though the relationship between them was not clarified. This accident happened early in the morning on Sunday (October 19, 2014) at about 1:00 a.m.
Alex Wong was driving his Jeep Patriot north along U.S. 377 that morning, near Bluff Dale, and McJunkin was driving his Honda Civic south. As the two vehicles neared each other, McJunkin lost control of his car and swerved into oncoming traffic, hitting the Wong’s Jeep head-on.
The accident killed McJunkin immediately and Alex Wong later passed away at a Fort Worth Hospital. Nellwyn Wong, however, was only injured and was last said to be stable condition at a hospital.
Police said that McJunkin, of Plano, worked as a manager for a restaurant in Frisco and that Wong was a senior street department manager for Dallas who lived in Bedford. The cause of the accident is still being investigated and it’s not exactly clear why McJunkin lost control of his car that evening.
Approximate Area of the Accident
Do we know why this driver lost control of his car that morning? I don’t claim to have all the answers here, but I think that, by piecing together the details we do have, it isn’t long before you have to wonder if alcohol was a factor. A young driver, allegedly not wearing a seat belt, who loses control of his car at 1 a.m. in the morning doesn’t necessarily mean that alcohol is the only way to explain this accident, but it’s certainly one of many possible explanations.
Now, I don’t mean to come across as harsh here, because that’s not my intent. My goal here is to explain a bit of the law so that my readers understand all the legal concepts that go into accidents like this one. With that said, however, let’s imagine that alcohol was a factor and that this young man had been drinking somewhere before getting behind the wheel.
If that “place” was a friend’s house, then Texas law would say that the driver made his own choices and that nobody else is responsible for him. But, if that “place” was a bar or another licensed seller of alcohol, then the law says something very different. Essentially, when you go to a bar and order drinks, the bar is giving you a substance that they (and you) know to be mood-altering. Further, it’s common knowledge that alcohol affects your ability to make decisions.
If a bar chooses to serve 6 beers in one hour to the same customer (for example), then they’re being just as irresponsible as the customer that ordered the drinks in the first place. Think about it: you wouldn’t give a gun to a drunk person, would you? How about the keys for a Ferrari to a 16-year old? Then why is it okay for a bartender to serve shots to someone who’s already drunk? Well, it’s not okay, and Texas law allows for lawsuits to be brought against bars for this very reason – so they’ll pay for their stupid decisions. Don’t get me wrong, drunk drivers are also responsible for their share, but it’s not a one-way road, the law punishes all who are involved in a drunk driving accident.
Now, let me reiterate that I do not know if alcohol was a factor here and I’m merely explaining how the law works for a hypothetical situation. I know this is a hot-button topic, but I think it’s one that’s worth discussing because many people assume that bars and restaurants have no responsibility to their customers. After all, it’s your own choice to drink alcohol. Shouldn’t you be responsible for your own choices? Absolutely, and the bar should be held responsible for theirs as well. With a state that leads the nation in drunk driving deaths per year, I think Texas still has a long way to go before we get the message across to our bars and pubs: it’s not okay to over-serve your customers.
— Grossman Law Offices