The South by Southwest Music Festival brings thousands to the Texas capital every March. People get together to celebrate music, the arts, and film. Known as SXSW, this annual festival started in 1987 and has grown exponentially every year since its inception 27 years ago.
Along with the festival’s events, comes after-parties filled with celebrities and after-parties sponsored by various alcohol companies which can increase the incidents of drunk driving. Miller Lite beer, Macallan whiskey, and Ketel One vodka were among the brands sponsoring events at SXSW this year.
On Thursday March 13, 2014, two people were killed and at least 23 were injured, shortly after midnight when a drunk driver, who was evading arrest, drove into a crowd at the festival. The driver drove the wrong way down a one-way street, before he drove through a police barricade, and struck a moped and a taxi, while also hitting a bicyclist and pedestrians.
There are criminal charges which the state enforces for someone who is struck by a reckless, drunk, and/or negligent driver, but there too can be civil actions. The actions can be against the driver individually and even against the establishment and who over served the driver the alcohol. This cause of action against bars, restaurants or clubs is often referred to as a dram shop case in Texas.
Not every injury can or will be actionable. Depending on the situation and how the injury occurred, the law may provide rights to the injured individual or to the spouse of the individual killed by the drunk driver. It is important to insure a proper investigation takes place following the accident to protect the person’s and their family’s rights.