Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed After Drunk Driver Kills 2 Men and Dog

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against a driver who has been charged in the death of two men. The lawsuit also names the bar, accusing them of selling alcohol to customers, even though it was apparent that he was intoxicated.

A 27-year-old male was charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter in the April 25th deaths of two men, 42 and 43 years old, as well as the death of their dog.

The pedestrians were apparently were walking on the sidewalk with their dog at 6:15 pm, when they were hit and killed by a red Mitsubishi, police said. The car, which was heading west, then struck a parked car.

Witnesses said that the driver almost hit several other people who were taking walks that evening.

Police were called about 6:15 pm and found two men who they believed to be in their early 20’s, and a dead dog. Paramedics placed sheets over the bodies lying on the sidewalk.

There were approximately 9 people at the scene when police arrived, including a Galveston man who spoke to the Daily News. He said he goes by the name, Lonny and lives nearby. Lonny stated that he was driving his pick-up north when he stopped and noticed a red Mitsubishi traveling west from a traffic light.

The speed of the car concerned Lonny, so he turned onto the seawall to see if the driver would “make the curve.” In the process, Lonny said he accidentally cut off an off-duty law enforcement officer, driving a Jeep.

“They tried to make the turn and slid sideways, and that’s the last I saw,” Lonny said. “They went out of my sight in a cloud of dust.”

When Lonny made the corner, he learned the Mitsubishi struck a parked car with no one inside it.

Since Lonny has a medical background, he went to see if one of the victims needed assistance. “One man and the dog were already dead,” he said. The other man had one eye open and was bleeding badly from the back of his head. Lonny asked the man his name, but he didn’t respond.

The off-duty deputy then asked Lonny to help direct traffic around the scene until police arrived.

Lonny said he saw one of the two occupants with a pipe and he told authorities about it.

“There were allegations from witnesses at the scene that one of the people involved was trying to hide a pipe,” Galveston interim police Chief, Henry Porretto said. “Officers recovered a narcotics pipe at the scene.”  Porretto didn’t immediately know which person had the pipe.

The Galveston County District Attorney’s office had a prosecutor at the scene. Officers from two police departments worked well into the night to reconstruct the incident, Porretto said.

The lawsuit also names the bar as a defendant in this case for selling alcohol to customers who were already intoxicated.

When a bar or restaurant chooses to serve a customer alcohol, even though that customer appears to be intoxicated, they can be held liable for any damages caused by that customer after they leave the establishment. If they continue to serve the customer alcohol, the bar or restaurant should be responsible and provide a cab ride for their patrons to get home safely. At least, this would ensure that innocent people on the road are kept out of harm’s way. If they had done this, those two men and their dog would be alive today.

Both the driver and the passenger of the vehicle were taken to the hospital where mandatory blood alcohol and drug tests were ordered.  If the blood tests are positive for alcohol or drugs, the driver will likely face two counts of intoxication manslaughter, which is a second degree felony in Texas. If convicted, the penalty for intoxication manslaughter in Texas is between 2-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The driver and his passenger were reported to be in stable condition. When released from the hospital, the driver will be taken to the county jail, where his bond is set at $100,000.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Do you feel that the bar that served more alcohol to the intoxicated customers should be held responsible for this tragedy?  Of course, the driver is accountable for his actions, but do you think the bartender is negligent?

Feel free to comment on this blog post.  You can contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).


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