Driver Charged with Felony DWI After Injuring 2 in Crash
47-year-old Jonathan Berry has been charged with felony DWI after he injured a pedestrian and another driver before crashing through a fence in northeast Austin on Thursday morning, according to court documents.
Police say that at around 6:45 a.m., multiple people called the police to report that they’d witnessed a silver vehicle strike a pedestrian crossing Reagan Hill Drive at the corner of Cameron Road, near Reagan High School. That injured pedestrian has been identified as Loraine Smith.
Witnesses said the driver, eventually identified as Berry, continued driving on Reagan Hill Drive but was blocked by several school buses. He then turned his vehicle around and started driving south on Cameron Road, where he rear-ended a vehicle being driven by Amanda Mars, who was also injured.
Berry continued driving wildly through Cameron Road, swerving through multiple lanes before he finally crashed into a fence along the outside of Reagan High School’s campus.
Police arrived on the scene and Berry was uncooperative. Officers had to drag him from his vehicle and fight to get him handcuffed. A pipe that officers say is similar to those used to smoke methamphetamines was found in the car, along with synthetic marijuana.
Berry was charged with third-degree felony DWI and third-degree felony harassment of a public servant.
Legal Recourse for DWI Accident Victims and Their Families
Attorney contributor Brian Kent represents drunk driving victims in civil lawsuits, helping them recover the full financial compensation they deserve for the injuries they’ve suffered. Here are some of his thoughts on the legal options available to Texas DWI crash victims and their families:
Citizens of Texas and all other states have the right to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit when an intoxicated person’s negligence leads to injuries or death. Texas is also one of several states with dram shop laws, which allow injured people to, under certain circumstances, file a lawsuit against a business or social host who provided alcohol to the intoxicated person who caused the accident.
According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Chapter 2, alcohol vendors can be held liable for injuries caused by their customers if:
- The alcohol was given or sold to someone under 18 years old, or
- the customer was “obviously” intoxicated and posed a “clear danger” to the safety of self and others, and
- this intoxication was a foreseeable cause of the injuries.
Social hosts can be held liable if:
- The social host is over 21 years old, and
- serves alcohol to a minor or allows a minor to drink on the social hosts’ property, and
- the social host is not the minor’s parent, legal guardian, custodian, or spouse.
If you or a loved one has recently been hit by a drunk driver, you may have grounds for a lawsuit against the person who caused the accident, the business who served them, or both parties. You can learn more about your legal options by discussing your case with an experienced DWI victims attorney.