Suit says alleged drunk driver fled scene of crash

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Feb. 22, 2011, 4:00am

GALVESTON - A Harris County resident claims he was involved in a hit-and-run accident with an alleged drunk driver in Texas City more than a year ago, recent court documents say.

In a lawsuit filed Feb. 15 in Galveston County District Court, Robert E. Joseph alleges Jason A. Cravens was intoxicated when he switched lanes and collided with Joseph's 2001 Jeep Cherokee.

the defendant's 2006 Chevrolet Impala switched lanes and collided with the 2001 Jeep Cherokee he was riding the night of Aug. 22, 2009.

On the night of Aug. 22, 2009, Joseph was riding in the Jeep being driven by Alonso Barnett northbound along Oak Street South near Phillips Street in Texas City. Cravens' 2006 Chevrolet Impala was traveling in the southbound lane of Oak Street, according to the suit.

"Defendant Cravens drove his vehicle off of the road onto the shoulder and ditched to his right at a speed greater than was reasonable under the existing circumstances," the suit says.

"When he attempted to get his vehicle back on the road, defendant Cravens suddenly veered his vehicle into driver Barnett's northbound lane."

Joseph shows "the defendant collided his vehicle into Barnett's oncoming vehicle so hard that it was totaled."

"Driver Barnett's vehicle was knocked off the road into a ditch facing the opposite direction, causing plaintiff Joseph's knees to slam into the dashboard when his body slid forward under his seatbelt," the original petition says.

"After colliding head-on with into driver Barrett's vehicle, defendant Cravens fled the scene in his damaged and smoking vehicle without rendering aid to plaintiff Joseph and driver Barnett."

The complainant alleges Cravens "fled the scene in an effort to avoid the enhanced circumstances associated with a fourth DWI conviction."

The suit does not explain what happened to Barnett, but insists he was "lawfully and safely" driving his vehicle.

Joseph insists the collision inflicted injuries to his knees, back, chest and neck as well as incurred monetary damages of more than $30,000.

He is represented by attorneys Thomas Lee Bartlett of Houston and Gregory Alexander of Webster.

The case has been assigned to Galveston County 405th District Court Judge Wayne Mallia.

Case No. 11-cv-0239

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