According to those who live and drive on the east side of El Paso, Texas, the fact that there have already been eight car accident fatalities in this young year comes as no surprise. Residents say that their region of the city has more open roads, which generally causes drivers to travel at faster speeds and to use riskier driving behaviors, whether or not their actions are against the law. In addition, seat belt use in the region is minimal. Both of these factors were behind a recent crash that seriously injured three young people and for which the driver has been arrested for drinking and driving.
The car accident occurred early Saturday morning, when a driver was speeding through the east side of El Paso. According to police, the driver swerved to avoid crashing into an oncoming garbage truck, and in the process clipped a nearby vehicle and subsequently veered into a metal sign, finally coming to a stop. One of the passengers, who is 23 years old, was ejected from the back seat, through the car’s sunroof, and into the metal pole, suffering serious injuries. The vehicle’s two additional passengers, both 13 years old, were also in the back seat and suffered injuries. None of the car’s four occupants was wearing a seat belt.
When police arrived at the scene of the car accident, they discovered that the 18-year-old driver had been drinking, and arrested him. While he was not injured, he now faces criminal charges of intoxicated assault and accident causing serious bodily injury or death.
The three passengers, who are now battling life-threatening injuries, are lucky to have survived the DWI accident. In 2010, 62 people were killed in El Paso accidents, with high speeds and lack of seat belts as main contributors to the crashes and fatal injuries.
Source: ABC-7, “Teen Driver Arrested; Three Passengers Hospitalized in East Side Wreck“, Jill Galus, 22 January 2011