Around one year ago, 19-year-old Naiim Bethea lost his life after being hit by a driver and falling into a ditch. 31-year-old George Roarx was the driver who hit Bethea, and police have said that his blood alcohol content at the time of the crash was .11. The legal limit in Texas is .08.
While Roarx was over the limit at the time of the crash, police do not believe this was the cause of the crash itself. When someone dies due to an intoxicated driver, the law does not allow them to convict on that basis alone. In this case, there were no bad driving facts like speeding, switching lanes, or making skid marks to prove a correlation between the alcohol in his system and the reason for the crash.
When the victim was hit, he was walking on the wrong side of the road, wearing dark clothing and headphones, and had traces of marijuana in his system. The side he was walking on did not have a sidewalk when the vehicle struck him.
Roarx is currently facing a DWI charge and not an intoxication manslaughter charge, and will only face a maximum of a 21-month long probation period. Naiim Bethea’s mother not only thinks that this sentence is way too light for the crime, but she also thinks that future laws need to be much more stricter for people who drink and drive.
While there is no proof to indicate that Roarx’s actions were from alcohol, we will never know the full truth. Maybe he was just impaired enough to hit Naiim, but with no proof that the alcohol caused the crash there can be no charge of intoxication manslaughter.
This situation is very unique from both a criminal law and personal injury law standpoint. There may be just enough loopholes for Roarx to get away with drinking and driving, but on the scope of personal injury things may not be that easy.
A pedestrian is rarely responsible for a wreck, especially one where the driver had been drinking. If you or a loved one have been involved in any kind of accident involving a drunk driver, it’s important to pursue personal injury law alongside criminal law in order to receive compensation for things like medical bills and pain and suffering.