Chattanooga Bar Employee and Bar Sued for Fatal Drunk Driving Accident
This hit and run accident happened because an employee of a bar in Tennessee attempted to drive home after work while completely inebriated. As a result of his monumental stupidity, and, according to a recent lawsuit, because of the bar's negligence in serving him alcohol while visibly intoxicated, he drove off and killed a pedestrian.
The Chattanooga Billiard Club had a policy of permitting their employees to have alcohol at the end of their shifts and, apparently, served it to them, even after they reached the level of intoxication. Jeremy Lane, 25-years old at the time of the accident, finished his shift at 3 a.m.; he, allegedly, drank like a fish until 7 a.m. He staggered out of the bar, apparently, so drunk he could barely stand, hopped into his Nissan sports car and drove away. Reports suggest that he then ran a red light at the same moment a pedestrian, Susan Berry Wood, was crossing the road on her way to work. He allegedly hit her, fled the scene, and left her for dead. Itis further reported that he later attempted to cover up what he had done; he called 911 and reported his car stolen, hoping to get way with the crime. Instead, the police found out that Lane left the bar visibly and clearly intoxicated; he was charged with vehicular homicide and DUI.
Wood’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit stating that Lane was served while "visibly and clearly intoxicated" and alleging that it was clear that harm would come to someone because of the bar's policy of providing free booze to its employees.. A city ordinance bans bar employees from drinking at work, whether on or off duty. There is also an ordinance that bans the sale of alcohol to customers between 3:00 am and 8:00 am on weekdays.
There are at three defendants (those being sued) in this case: the bar for negligently allowing their employees to drink themselves into a stupor, driver and the bar employee who killed Susan Woods, and the employee's stepfather, who owned the vehicle involved in the accident.
Lane's criminal case should be tried first; Wrongful death and/or automobile accident lawsuits are civil lawsuits and would be come to trial much later. The civil case will take a long time to sort out; the stepfather and the bar will likely mount a vigorous defense and settlement or trial could be months, if not years, away. In the meantime, the Wood family has lost a loved one and must cope with their grief as well as the expenses of daily life and those related to Susan's death.
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