A suspected drunk driving crash involving an underage drunk driver sent three people to the hospital and resulted in the loss of the underage driver's girlfriend's unborn baby on August 6, according to Grand Prairie police.
17-year-old Frank Alvarez of Dallas has been charged with intoxication manslaughter, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and other related offenses.
According to the police, Alvarez was speeding northbound on the Great Southwest Parkway and ran a red light at the intersection with Sherman Street, crashing into a truck. Three of the four people in that truck were hospitalized with serious injuries.
A 73-year-old man in the truck was hospitalized in critical condition and a 70-year-old passenger had fractured ribs. The driver of that truck also had fractures but no life-threatening injuries.
Alvarez's pregnant girlfriend was also hospitalized, where she went into labor and delivered a stillborn baby. She has since been discharged from the hospital.
Alvarez remains at the Grand Prairie detention center.
Attorney contributor Marc Lenahan has experience helping drunk driving injury victims and their families find justice in civil lawsuits. Marc has offered to share some information on the legal options available to victims of drunk driving crashes in Texas:
In Texas and all other states, people who are injured by drunk drivers may have grounds for a lawsuit against the driver who injured them. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, Texans and residents of many other states may also have grounds for a dram shop lawsuit against the alcohol vendor who provided alcohol to the drunk driver before the crash.
According to Texas dram shop laws, alcohol vendors can be held liable for injuries caused by a customer if the vendor sold or provided alcohol to a minor under age 18 or to someone who was "obviously" intoxicated at the time the alcohol was provided, and the intoxication was a proximate or foreseeable cause of the injuries.
Additionally, social hosts over the age of 21 can be held liable for providing alcohol to a minor under age 18, as long as the host is not the minor's parent, guardian, legal custodian, or spouse.
This means that in drunk driving crashes caused by underage drunk drivers, those injured may have grounds for a lawsuit againt the business or person who provided the underage driver with alcohol.