Savannah bar sued after fatal wreck

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SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A River Street bar served drinks to a noticeably intoxicated patron shortly before he struck and killed a motor scooter driver on Islands Expressway, a suit filed Friday contends.



The civil action adds Bernie's Too Inc., which owns Bernie's River Street, to earlier litigation filed by the parents of 18-year-old Craig Loxton, the victim of a fatal Dec. 13 hit-and-run wreck.

Police said Loxton was killed instantly when the motor scooter he was driving was struck from behind on the Islands Expressway overpass just west of President Street and U.S. 80 shortly after midnight Dec. 12.

Jonathan Brett McKie, 38, remains in the Chatham County jail without bond under indictment for vehicular homicide and related charges in the case.

He earlier was sued alone in Chatham County Superior Court for damages stemming from Loxton's death.

According to the suit filed Friday in Chatham County Superior Court, McKie had several drinks at Bernie's, "some or all of which were furnished to him after he had become noticeably intoxicated."

They did so with "actual or constructive knowledge that McKie would soon be driving a motor vehicle," the suit alleges.

McKie left Bernie's, a restaurant/bar at 115 E. River St., returning to his Whitemarsh Island home and struck Loxton, knocking him to the pavement, then drove over the victim before fleeing, the suit filed for Loxton's parents by attorneys Richard Sanders Jr. and Bart Turner said.

McKie dropped his unnamed companion at her home, then returned to the scene before returning home and asking his companion if he "could conceal his vehicle in her garage," the suit said.

When she suggested they call police, McKie rejected the idea, the suit said.

McKie, with his lawyer, surrendered to police the following Monday.

According to the suit, Bernie's operated several surveillance cameras at the bar, at least one of them was "trained on the location where McKie was consuming alcoholic beverages."

Subsequent to the wreck and after attorneys had notified Bernie's officials to preserve the videos, they were "overwritten" and destroyed, the suit alleges.

The suit is seeking damages in excess of $25,000 in general damages and another more than $25,000 for the full value of Loxton's life as well as punitive damages in the same amount.

A phone message for comment Friday to an attorney for Bernie's was not returned.

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WW1949
19
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WW1949 04/23/11 - 09:46 am
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accountability is the word of

accountability is the word of the day and the driver is the one accountable. Blaming the bar owners is just lawyer talk to get money.

curly123053
4899
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curly123053 04/23/11 - 09:57 am
0
0
The law also states that you

The law also states that you cannot serve alcohol to a person if they are already intoxicated, and Bernie's knew they were in the wrong. Why else would they destroy the evidence. Same goes for convenience store clerks. It is unlawful for them to sell beer or other alcoholic beverages to somebody already intoxicated.

storiesihaveread
358
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storiesihaveread 04/23/11 - 10:17 am
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I agree WW1949 but to a

I agree WW1949 but to a point. Let's say you have a party, one of your guests starts to show signs of getting drunk. Would you keep on allowing him to drink knowing he needs to drive home?

corgimom
33948
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corgimom 04/23/11 - 11:21 am
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Unless somebody put a gun to

Unless somebody put a gun to Mr. McKie's head, and forced him to go into that bar and drink, it's McKie's fault. Nobody else's.

lovebugg
0
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lovebugg 04/23/11 - 12:22 pm
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No matter who's fault it

No matter who's fault it is.... I didn't realize the life of a person was only worth 25000???? Plus 25000 more for damages or whatever!!!!! I thought a persons life was priceless!!!!! This is a bunch of crap!!!!!

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 04/23/11 - 12:33 pm
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Driving a scooter on an

Driving a scooter on an expressway in Savannah isnt a great idea... not to add less blame to the driver...

belle
309
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belle 04/23/11 - 01:40 pm
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WHY do we think other people
Unpublished

WHY do we think other people should control how we behave when we don't accept that responsiblility for ourselves??

Einstein
0
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Einstein 04/23/11 - 01:40 pm
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The driver returned to the

The driver returned to the scene and STILL didn't render aide?!? Unbelievable!

Lawpig
0
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Lawpig 04/23/11 - 02:04 pm
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If the driver's insurance

If the driver's insurance only had 25k then your limited to that as a claimant. Dram shop laws only apply to persons who professionally distribute alcohol such as bars and stores. They do not apply to everyday people unless a minor is given alcohol. They do not absolve the drunk of responsibility but instead also hold liable the person who knowingly gave that person alcohol even though he was drunk.

siberian
0
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siberian 04/23/11 - 03:29 pm
0
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no lovebug life isnt

no lovebug life isnt priceless ever seen how cheap an abortion is..... life isnt worth a hill of beans in todays world

Einstein
0
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Einstein 04/23/11 - 03:31 pm
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"If the driver's insurance

"If the driver's insurance only had 25k then your limited to that as a claimant."

Nonsense.... You can sue somebody for however much you can justify, regardless of what type and limit on insurance. The insurance limit amount is a matter between the insurance company and the insured, and indicates the maximum amount that the company is required to pay if a valid claim is made. The insured gets no such protections on limiting thier own liability, and would be required to pay any and all incremental costs if they are successfully sued. If what you said were true, everybody would buy small insurance policies in order to legally limit their liability for their own negligence. So, don't be driving around thinking that no matter what happens, you'd never have to pay punitive damages because you have some insurance.

Tybee Tammie
8
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Tybee Tammie 04/23/11 - 05:47 pm
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Wow! I'm surprised anyone

Wow! I'm surprised anyone got a drink at Bernie's. We waited 20 minutes last night and weren't even asked if we wanted a drink. Wonder if Margaret saw that on her camera's?

Asitisinaug
3
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Asitisinaug 04/23/11 - 06:01 pm
0
0
Just like blaming gun

Just like blaming gun companies for someone shooting a person with a gun or cigarette companies for your health due to cigarettes.

This law suit (as most are) is only about money from an ambulance chasing lawyer.

The ONLY person that should be held responsible is the person who got behind the wheel, drove, got into an accident and left the scene - he knew what he did, tried to cover it up and should be solely responsible.

Bar tenders, servers, hosts of private parties, etc. all should do their best to stop serving a visibly intoxicated person. However, that is a very tough task in most cases for various reasons which include the fact that some are drunk and don't show visible signs, often times, friends will get drinks for friends who are intoxicated, etc. Bars certainly should do their best to prevent problems from occurring, offer taxi's ,etc. but the responsiblity should rest on the shoulders of the adult doing the drinking. Now, if a bar was knowingly serving an underage person or not checking ID's, etc. and serving minors, then they should be held responsible but not for the actions of adults.

Our society needs to once again learn Personal Responsibility and Acountibility and stop passing the buck. Lawyers play a big part in this problem, including our law makers & politicinas, many of who are or were lawyers.

corgimom
33948
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corgimom 04/23/11 - 07:37 pm
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How would any server know who

How would any server know who drove up to the bar? I used to ride with friends all the time, the server had no idea who drove that night.

Einstein
0
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Einstein 04/23/11 - 07:47 pm
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I agree, and with a large

I agree, and with a large crowd, as someone else pointed out, the server may not even know whomis consuming a given drink because a friend is buying several drinks for consumption by others in their party.

spotted_assassin
67
Points
spotted_assassin 04/23/11 - 09:18 pm
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0
I have worked in F&B on

I have worked in F&B on several occasions...that was the first videos that they showed you! If a person is noticeably intoxicated, and your business serves them a drink, then if that said person gets into an accident; then, that establishment could be held responsible.
...I means it's not like servers dont know who's over the limit!

fftaz71
108
Points
fftaz71 04/24/11 - 07:24 am
0
0
Ok, so if they want to play

Ok, so if they want to play the blame game here...why hasnt anyone sued the girlfriend who rode home with this guy? She evidently realized what happened, and did nothing either.
As for saying the bar servers HAD to know the guy was going to drive, they have no way of knowing that. People walk up and down River St all day long.
Next, the guy was sober enough to realize what he did or he wouldnt have gone back to the scene nor would he have tried to hide his car.
In who's opinion was this guy visibly intoxicated?? The lawyers? The parents?
Lastly, some video surveillance systems automatically rewrite after 24 or 36 hours. Maybe they did "destroy" evidence, maybe they didnt depending on when they were notified to preserve the tapes.

Einstein
0
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Einstein 04/24/11 - 08:33 am
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Very good points. While we

Very good points. While we are at it, why not go ahead and sue the drink manufacturers too!?!?

Lawpig
0
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Lawpig 04/24/11 - 09:34 am
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I said as a claimant

I said as a claimant Einstein; not a plaintiff. Words have meaning. Yes you can Sue for whatever you want and you may even win. Good luck collecting it though.

happychimer
18510
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happychimer 04/24/11 - 10:17 am
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0
When I was a cashier a man

When I was a cashier a man who appeared to be drunk tried to buy beer. I refused to sell it to him. He cussed me out, but he did not get the beer. The law is not just for servers not to sell to drunks.

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 04/24/11 - 05:25 pm
0
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What happened in the criminal

What happened in the criminal case?

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