23-Year-Old Woman Charged With Manslaughter After Man Falls Off Her SUV


Can I be charged with reckless driving in a parking lot? Carabin Shaw weighs in.


Woman Faces Manslaughter After Man Falls From SUV, Dies

According to a KSAT News report, a woman is facing manslaughter charges after an acquaintance falls from her SUV during a car meet-up on San Antonio’s East Side.

Police reported that the man stepped on the rail steps and held on to the top of the vehicle while the woman drove around the parking lot where the car meet-up was being held on July 1, 2023. The woman reported that she was driving at 25 to 30 mph and that the man jumped from the vehicle, but witnesses reported reckless driving, tire screeching, and estimated speeds of 40 to 70 mph and that he was thrown from the vehicle. He died of his injuries at the Brooke Army Medical Center on July 29.

Did You Know?

7.3% of all violent crimes occur in parking lots across the United States.

Reckless Driving in San Antonio Parking Lots

Many people wonder if reckless driving is O.K. in an empty parking lot. After all, you’re not hurting anyone, right? You certainly can’t be arrested for reckless driving in an empty parking lot… can you?

To answer this question, let’s take a look at what Texas law defines as reckless driving to see where and how it applies to Texas roads.

Reckless Driving Defined

So, what exactly is reckless driving in San Antonio?

Texas Transportation Code sec. 545.401. defines reckless driving as “driv(ing) a vehicle in wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”

Willful or wanton disregard is the highest level of negligence in Texas. In order for a negligent action to be found willful or wanton, it must intentionally disregard the rights and safety of other individuals, or the defendant should have known that the action would reasonably cause injury or harm to another.

Does Reckless Driving Apply to Parking Lots?

Yes, it does. A person can be charged with reckless driving on any road to which the public has general access, including parking lots and parking garages. If it is private property, like a business’s parking lot or garage, it still counts if it is open to the general public (unless it is a fee-based lot or garage).

Private residential property is the only place you cannot be charged with reckless driving in Texas.

What Behaviors Count as Reckless Driving?

Because the definition of reckless driving in the Transportation Code is pretty broad, there are many behaviors that may be deemed reckless driving. Specifically for parking lots, examples include:

  • Speeding
  • Drifting
  • Racing
  • Doing Donuts
  • Spinning Tires
  • Driving Drunk/Drinking While Driving

You do not have to cause an accident to be charged, as police officers are given wide discretion when issuing citations. Remember, all you have to do is engage in behavior that could reasonably and knowingly endanger someone’s life to be “driving recklessly.”

Fighting a Reckless Driving Charge in San Antonio

In order for a reckless driving charge to stick, the State will have to prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. A criminal defense attorney at Carabin Shaw can help build a solid defense for your case.

Facing a Reckless Driving Charge? Hire Carabin Shaw

A reckless driving charge can have a significant negative impact on your life. Protect yourself by hiring the criminal defense attorneys at Carabin Shaw with 30 years of experience at 800-862-1260 or with the live chat feature at the bottom right of your screen. We look forward to serving you.

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