The tragic death of a 17-year-old in Connecticut has affected many lives forever, including those of her parents and also her peers, who allegedly allowed her to get behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.27 – more than three times the legal limit for someone over the age of 21. It’s 13 times the legal limit of 0.02 for a driver under the age of 21.
The girl had been drinking at a party prior to the crash. Four teenage boys got into the vehicle she had borrowed from her parents. She didn’t drive initially, one of those 16-year-old boys did. He dropped off one of the other boys. He then drove to his own house and got out of the vehicle. At that point, another of male teen passengers got behind the wheel of the car and drove to his own home. There, he and the fourth boy got out, leaving the visibly impaired 17-year-old with her own keys. They never tried to stop her.
Less than a mile down the road, she crashed her vehicle into a tree and was pronounced dead. The last two of her friends to see her alive are facing charges of reckless endangerment for allowing her to drive drunk. And now, the girl’s father has filed a civil lawsuit against not just them, but their parents, as well as the female teen host of the party and her parents, for negligently supplying alcohol.
The wrongful death lawsuit alleges the party hosts allowed their home to be a site for teenage guests to come and drink alcohol with their consent. The parents were actually home at the time of the party, though they were never charged with any crime. Their daughter was later charged with two counts of allowing minors to possess alcohol.
The lawsuit alleges the social hosts were not only negligent in supplying and/or allowing alcohol to be drunk by teens, but also for failing to determine decedent and her friends were too impaired to leave the premises in a motor vehicle. They also, according to the complaint, did not take adequate measures to make sure young guests weren’t drinking excessively.
Father also asserts the parents had allowed their 16-year-old daughter to host other parties at their home where alcohol was served, including on her 16th birthday.
Complaint also alleges the two friends who were last with her physically placed her in the driver’s seat, when they knew or should have known she was very drunk and would probably cause injury to herself or someone else.
The whole reason they were on the road in the first place is that the boys had said they needed to get home. Two of them had sneaked out in order to go to the party. She left the party with them because she was one of the only one of their friends present with a vehicle.
While in many DUI accident cases, we think of the driver as being solely responsible, this case shows how there may be numerous parties that could be held accountable, particularly when the victim is underage.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Father Of Teen Killed In Drunken Driving Accident Sues Friends, Parents, Aug. 14, 2015, By Peter Marteka, The Hartford Courant
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