Earlier this year, a former Anderson University assistant baseball coach pleaded guilty to driving drunk and killing three young people and seriously injuring a fourth. He’s serving an 18-year prison term.
Now, the mother of the lone survivor – now 13-years-old and suffering from permanent, debilitating brain injuries, is suing two of the bars that allegedly served that driver at least 13 beers and 1 shot of liquor over the span of just a few hours that night. The young girl who survived was initially believed to have been killed, but when a first-on-scene police officer – also a trained paramedic – noted a faint pulse, he performed an emergency tracheotomy on the girl. She suffered severe damage to her spinal cord resulting in paralysis, plus a fractured neck and brain damage.
The DUI dram shop lawsuit alleges the two bars at which that driver drank – Hooters and The Bench – should have refused to serve him, or else called him a taxi or Uber so he would not have attempted to drive after leaving. Records showed he was given at least one free shot of liquor at The Bench. At Hooters, the driver reportedly had conversations with the manager and also flirted with/ hugged a waitress, meaning workers were close enough to the man to know that he was impaired. That should have been their queue to stop serving him alcohol.
Authorities said the driver, Riley McDermott, had a blood-alcohol level that was 0.289 – almost three times the legal limit of 0.08. The 26-year-old, in addition to serving his prison term, will have to pay $10,100 on each fatality charge and $5,100 for two injury charges. However, that doesn’t begin to compensate the families of those lost or the lone survivor, who was just 11 when the accident happened.
Prosecutors’ timeline of that night indicated McDermott:
- At wings and split a pitcher of beer with a friend at Hooters, then drank three additional beers, starting at around 7 p.m.
- Left and went to The Bench around 9 p.m. Consumed four, 16-oz beers and two shots.
- Left The Bench around 11 and returned to Hooters to get his bank card. Drank three more beers from a large pitcher.
- Left Hooters at midnight, stumbling and having difficulty walking.
Plaintiff’s lawsuit asserts managers and workers at both bars interacted with him, knew he was drunk and kept serving him alcohol anyway. Both companies have policies that require employees to secure alternative transportation for patrons who seem too drunk and they did not follow these policies.
South Carolina does not have a “dram shop law.” However, there is a law that says it’s illegal to knowingly serve alcohol to anyone who is intoxicated. Courts in this state have repeatedly held that civil action can arise out of violation of this statute.
Our Anderson DUI injury attorneys know this is an important avenue for anyone affected by a DUI to explore. That’s because most DUI defendants are not able on their own to provide full financial compensation to their victims. By pursuing dram shop liability actions, plaintiffs not only have a better shot at financial recovery, they can fight to ensure other bars and establishments will be more careful in the future.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
Anderson bars — Hooters and The Bench — named in new DUI lawsuit, Aug. 18, 2016, By Mike Ellis, The State
More Blog Entries:
North Mecklenburg High Cheerleader Dies in Crash, Football Player Seriously Injured, Aug. 22, 2016, Anderson Car Accident Attorney Blog