A horrific crash that claimed the lives of two young people, severely injured a third and prompted Wellington officials to take steps to curb underage drinking is being blamed on the owners of a popular South Shore Boulevard restaurant that has abruptly closed.
In a lawsuit filed last week in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, The Grille Fashion Cuisine and its owners are being accused of negligence. The suit claims they illegally served alcohol to a 19-year-old girl and allowed her to leave the restaurant even though she was intoxicated.
Driving at speeds reaching 98 mph, the Connecticut teen crashed her Chevrolet Camaro into a Hondo Accord in the median of South Shore Boulevard after leaving the eatery, according to an investigation by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. The 19-year old and a passenger in the car, 21-year-old Iowa resident Christian Kennedy, died. The 24-year old driving the Honda, survived the crash but sustained serious injuries.
An attorney, who is representing the 19-year old’s divorced parents in the lawsuit, said the crash could have been avoided had the restaurant refused to serve teenager.
The Medical Examiner found that the teen’s blood-alcohol level was 0.083 percent, only slightly above the concentration at which Florida drivers are considered impaired. However, Florida law establishes a lower level for those who are under the legal drinking age. Because the 19-year old was under the age of 21, her blood-alcohol level was four times above the legal limit.
Had she survived, she would have been charged with DUI manslaughter and DUI causing serious bodily injury, sheriff’s investigators wrote.
The investigators said they found two driver’s licenses in the wallet of the 19-year old. One belonged to her and another belonged to a Rhode Island woman who would have been 24 years old on the night of the crash.
Accident attorney Jason Weisser of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller and Overbeck responded to this unfortunate crash. “This is an horrific crash involving an underage driver, which ultimately, killed two and injured one person. We wish the victim a speedy recovery and hope the investigators can quickly determine what caused the accident. Please be careful and obey the speed limits whenever you are driving a motorcycle, car, SUV or truck. We hope that all parties involved consult with an experienced trial lawyer. If you have been injured in an accident, call my office for a free consultation and find out what your rights are.”
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