A wonderful 62-year-old woman named Wyona Clardy tragically died Saturday morning in Grapevine, two weeks after being crushed by a truck in Keller on Highway 377. Her car (pictured here) was stopped at a red light when it was crashed into by a tow truck driver who was intoxicated and probably stoned. The 52-year-old drunk driver’s charges will to be upgraded to vehicular manslaughter.
Another drunk driving crash occurred early Saturday morning in south Dallas. A drunk woman ran the red light and crashed into a pickup truck. The intoxicated driver broke both of her legs and the passenger in the pickup truck was critically injured with a brain bleed and multiple fractures.
These collisions follow on the heels of another fatal drunk driving episode that happened earlier in the month. The drunk driver killed a couple when he also ran a red light. And once again, two more families were devastated. Promise Hamilton was just 23 years-old and her boyfriend Luis Angel Solano was 26. Luis was driving Promise to the airport to catch a flight to Paris to study art. Luis was studying aerospace engineering at UT. Two promising young lives were cut short for no reason.
That the driver was driving while intoxicated comes as no surprise to a personal injury lawyer. We unfortunately see these cases often. There are over 3,000 crashes each year in just the two counties that Fort Worth and Dallas are in caused by intoxicated drivers — that’s an astonishing eight each night.
I extend my sincerest condolences to the families and wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured victims.
A new bill, HB 3016, just passed the Senate today and after being reconciled with the House bill will go to the governor for signature. The new law permits a first-time drunk driver who has used an ignition interlock successfully for six months, not caused any crashes, and met other conditions to apply to have the DWI taken off his record. That’s a powerful inducement that will undoubtedly increase the use of this highly effective deterrent.
Interlock devices have been proven to stop over 244,000 attempts in the last 10 years for someone to drive while intoxicated in Texas.
Thank you, MADD and the Texas Legislature, for continuing to pass laws that will help Texas drivers stay safe.
Running a red light is particularly risky, with 39 percent of crashes – no, they’re not accidents -where a driver blows through a signal result in injuries. Red light running caused 709 fatal accidents and 126,000 crashes that resulted in serious injuries. More than 50 percent of people who died in these accidents were pedestrians, cyclists and occupants of the other vehicles.
Why are drunk driving collisions and running a red light so connected? And why do so many happen here in Texas where year after year, we are number one in DWI deaths in the U.S., even though we are not the most populated state?
Drunk driving impairs attention, depth perception, response time and judgment. First, the driver might not even notice the red light until too late — if at all. When he does see that the light is red or that a car is stopped in front, his ability to judge how far it is may be altered. Once he realizes he needs to stop, there is an extra-long delay in applying the brakes. Some drunk drivers may try to beat the light or make another poor decision at the crucial moment while passing through an intersection.
Adding to the danger, the victims don’t see it coming. The drunk driver may ploy into victims who are sitting at a stop sign or red light as happened when Mrs. Clardy was hit, or the driver has the right away in the intersection when the drunk driver comes out of nowhere, as happened to the young couple earlier this month.
Sparing another family the devastation of a DWI accident should be our top priority.
Let’s get all of these drunk drivers off the road. Support MADD. Our lives depend on it.