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Family files wrongful death suit for fatal October DUI accident
Posted By Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge || Mar 19, 2011
The family of a 21-year-old nursing student who was killed in a fatal drunk-driving accident last October has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against both the accused drunk driver and the bar that served him enough alcohol before the crash that he had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit.
The young woman and her 26-year-old boyfriend were both killed in the car accident, which occurred in the Rivergate Mall near Madison at around 1:00 a.m. on October 6. According to reports, the alleged drunk driver crashed his pickup truck into the driver's side door of the young couple's car, killing them both.
Police found several beer cans in the pickup truck, and the driver had a suspended license. His blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit at the time of the fatal accident. He has been charged with DUI and vehicular homicide, and has pled not guilty.
According to the wrongful death lawsuit, the driver had been drinking that night at Sam's All American Sports Grill in Hendersonville. Under the legal theory of dram shop liability, bars and restaurants that serve alcohol to someone who is already drunk can be held legally responsible if that person later injures or kills someone in a drunk-driving accident.
Father learned of daughter's death from news report
Heartbreakingly, the young woman's father, a widower, learned of his daughter's wrongful death while watching an early local news report. Around 4:00 a.m., he saw a news story about two people having been killed in a car wreck, and the description of the car matched that of his daughter's. He called the young woman's brother, who went to the accident scene to find that the dead girl was his sister.
"I don't understand why anybody would want to be drinking and driving," her father told reporters. "I know she's with God, but I'm going to miss her."
The girl's mother died four years ago. Friends of the couple told reporters that they had been dating for four months.