Savannah bar sued after fatal wreck

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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