Every single day in the United States, 28 people die as a result of a car wreck that involved a drunk driver. This equates to one death every 51 minutes. Even though we have numerous laws and guidelines in place aimed at stopping people from getting behind the wheel of a car while impaired, people still choose to do so. Not only does drunk driving put the driver at risk, but any passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and, of course, other drivers. One Carrollton family recently experienced how dangerous and damaging a drunk driver can be, as they woke to a vehicle in their kitchen on an otherwise-normal Tuesday evening.
At the end of March, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office arrested a suspected drunk driver after the car he was in crashed into a Carrollton home. A warrant was issued for Jose Galarza, 45, after the car he was driving in rammed through a family’s home, ending up in the kitchen. Police say Galarza was driving with a suspended license when he flew over the railroad tracks on Old Mill Road, missed his turn, and ended up in the family’s kitchen shortly after 9pm. The family had just put their 7-year-old son down for the night and were turning in themselves when the accident took place. According to police, the homeowners saw Galarza attempting to rev his engine and get away from the scene of the crime. When he careened into the kitchen, his vehicle hit the gas stove, resulting in a leak that required immediate attention. Galarza was then taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Records indicate Galarza had a warrant out for his arrest since February for driving with a suspended license and was also arrested for a DWI in 2006. Unfortunately, drunk driving cases just like these take place more common than we would like to believe. Getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking often results in serious, fatal accidents and serious repercussions. With more than 50 percent of car wrecks caused by alcohol-impaired drivers, it is no wonder this is such a concern.
Steps to Take Following a Car Wreck
Car wrecks take place every single day in the United States and range from minor fender benders to more serious accidents resulting in injuries, or worse. Car wrecks are always stressful, but there is an added layer of stress when a drunk driver is involved. If you have been in a car wreck and you suspect the other driver is drunk or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, these steps should give you a good idea of what to do immediately following the accident:
- Call 911 – Before you do anything else, call 911 and report the incident to the police. If you are afraid the other driver may flee the scene, do your best to get their license plate number and write down any other distinguishing factors.
- Check for Injuries – If you aren’t too hurt to move, check yourself and the other passengers in your car for injuries. If anyone is injured, contact emergency services right away or ask a bystander to call for help.
- Move to Safety – If possible, move your vehicle and any passengers to the side of the road or sidewalk for safety. If you can drive your car safely, pull it to the side of the road and wait for the authorities.
- Exchange Information – If the other driver hasn’t fled the scene, now is the time to exchange information. Get their contact and insurance information, which should include:
- Insurance company and policy number
- Driver’s license and license plate number
- Color, model, and type of vehicle
- Location of accident
- Document the Scene – Take pictures and talk to any witnesses while you wait for the police. Even though the accident may be fresh in your mind, it is common for details to become blurry as time passes. If you have your phone on you, take pictures and write down any eyewitness accounts, as well as their personal information.
As Dallas car wrecks lawyers, we have seen it all and represented countless victims of collisions caused by drunk drivers. We understand how overwhelming and intimidating it can be to pursue a lawsuit against a drunk driver, which is why we encourage you to give us a call and schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.