A drunk driver is accused of mowing down a 12-year-old autistic boy as he walked along an overpass near Houston, Texas, on Jan. 11. The driver, age 40, is facing allegations of driving while intoxicated in connection with the collision, and he may also be charged with manslaughter in the near future. Even though the driver in this case shoulders most of the responsibility for the pedestrian incident, it appears that driver impairment was not the only factor that caused the wreck. In fact, authorities say that the car accident may have been unavoidable, considering the location where the child was walking.

Official reports show that the boy had been biking with his father outside their Houston home when the pair became separated. Family members reported the child missing, and officers found him dead on the side of an overpass two hours later. The child was found along the side of a high-speed overpass that did not have a sidewalk; in essence, the boy was in the middle of a freeway.

Family members say that the 12-year-old was a special-education student who had limited communication abilities. The child primarily communicated through gestures and drawings, so it is possible that he became disoriented and did not realize the dangers associated with walking on the overpass. Teachers and family members say that the child was a beloved member of the community who was always upbeat and willing to have fun. His hobbies included watching movies and drawing, according to his parents.

In many cases, a variety of factors contribute to the ultimate tragic endpoint of a drunk driving accident. In this situation, the driver should have been coherent enough to avoid striking the child; instead, he was intoxicated and unable to correctly operate his vehicle. Relatives of the victim may be able to recover financial damages for the actions of this negligent driver, including civil compensation for wrongful death, loss of companionship and a variety of other civil claims.

Source: Houston Chronicle, “Police: 12-year-old autistic boy killed by alleged drunk driver” Yang Wang, Jan. 12, 2014