Alcohol and a motorcycle reportedly were involved in the traffic death of a Houstonian this past weekend. But the combination may be different from what one might initially expect.
Last Sunday afternoon, an unnamed 27-year old motorcycle rider was killed in a collision at the intersection of Winkler Drive and Garland Drive. According to news articles, a man named Juan Manuel Alba-Alonso was driving northbound on Winkler in his Nissan Titan pickup truck. The motorcyclist was headed westbound on Garland. News accounts indicate that police reported that the motorcycle rider ran a stop sign at the intersection where he and the pickup truck crashed. The motorcyclist was dead at the scene. Investigating officers suspected that Mr. Alba-Alonso was intoxicated at the time. As a result, after he was treated at the hospital, he was taken to jail.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office could charge Mr. Alba-Alonso with intoxication manslaughter. According to § 49.08 of the Texas Penal Code, a “person commits an offense if the person: (1) operates a motor vehicle in a public place, … ; and (2) is intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake.” Intoxication manslaughter is a second degree felony, generally punishable by imprisonment from two to 20 years, and a $10,000.00 fine.
Thus, this terrible crash could be devastating to the lives and families of two men. The loved ones of the motorcyclist are grieving his death, which may have resulted in part from disobeying a traffic sign. In addition, Mr. Alba-Alonso has been arrested, and might be charged with a felony.
This very regrettable situation could have been avoided. If one or both drivers had followed the rules of the road more assiduously, and had practiced defensive driving, the wreck would not have occurred. In addition, if Mr. Alba-Alonso had used a designated driver or a taxi cab, he would have been spared the cost and distress of an arrest and the specter of possibly facing felony charges. The message is clear: be sober and careful when you drive.