Family of DUI victim suing 2 SC bars

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COLUMBIA— The family of a South Carolina girl killed by a drunken driver filed a lawsuit Friday saying that two bars negligently over-served a man who plowed his car into their minivan.


The lawsuit accuses the owners of Columbia nightspots The Big Ugly and The Loose Cockaboose of negligence in the death of 6-year-old Emma Longstreet.

The girl died New Year’s Day 2012 when her family’s minivan was struck as they drove to church about 11 a.m. Several relatives and another nearby driver were injured.

Billy Patrick Hutto Jr., 29, is serving 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to assault and felony DUI.

The Longstreet family’s lawsuit quotes extensively from a Nov. 22, 2013, sworn statement in which Hutto detailed the drinks he was served until nearly 6 a.m. on the day of the crash. Au­thor­ities said Hutto’s blood alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit for
driving, even hours after he said he last drank alcohol.

According to state police records, Hutto was first
arrested for DUI in 2009.

The bar owners didn’t immediately return messages Friday seeking comment.

According to his affidavit, Hutto started drinking at 10:40 p.m. Jan. 31, partaking in liquor, champagne and beer heavily throughout the night. Hutto described servers pushing alcohol on him and others, saying they needed to “get rid of this stuff.”

“By 1:45 a.m., I was severely intoxicated,” Hutto said.

The bar where Hutto started his evening is mentioned in the lawsuit but not named as a defendant. Hutto said he remembered having two beers at the second bar, The Big Ugly, before getting in his car around 3 a.m. to drive to a third bar.

“I was drunk when I arrived and even more drunk when I left,” he said. “There is no question that the people serving me the beers knew I was severely drunk and in no condition to drink any more alcohol.”

Hutto said he understood that the last bar, The Loose Cock­a­boose, had already closed but then opened for after-hours customers. There, Hut­to said, he had at least three more drinks.

“At this point I could barely stand and was exhausted,” Hutto said.

After sleeping for a few hours, Hutto said he woke up and wanted to get home to get ready for church. Because of his “severe intoxication,” Hutto said he didn’t realize he was speeding and didn’t see the red traffic light that he ran before colliding with the Longstreets’ van.

“My actions and those of the various bars in continuing the serve me after I was plainly drunk and out of control, resulted in my crushing a small six year old child on her way to church,” Hutto said. “If someone had cut me off, refused to serve me in such an intoxicated state or refused to serve me after the bar had closed, it would have made a difference.”

The lawsuit accuses the bars of negligence for serving a patron they should have known was intoxicated and of operating after hours. The family seeks unspecified damages to pay for ongoing medical expenses, as well as consideration for emotional pain and suffering.

Emma’s death has led to a debate over whether ignition interlock devices — which measure a driver’s blood alcohol content before they can start a car — should be required for some people who are convicted of drunken driving. On Thursday, a legislative subcommittee approved the bill, which now moves on to the full committee.

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myfather15
59559
Points
myfather15 03/22/14 - 05:36 am
12
1
"“If someone had cut me off,

"“If someone had cut me off, refused to serve me in such an intoxicated state or refused to serve me after the bar had closed, it would have made a difference.”

Easy way to blame someone else for YOUR actions!! You should have got 25 years to serve!! You took a life out of extreme negligence!! Yes, they shouldn't have served you but it wasn't THEIR fault you got behind the wheel!!

I feel for this family, I truly do; but they are just going for deep pockets!! If you're basing your lawsuit on the testimony of this drunk, who is clearly trying to blame anyone but himself; good luck!!

Yes, back in my younger years, I have actually been this drunk before!! I find it very hard to believe that he remembers every drink he had at every bar or the words they were saying to him. When you get that drunk, you barely remember anything!! So his affidavit appears to be nothing but a made up story to place the blame on someone else!! Does that make you feel better sir?

corgimom
49937
Points
corgimom 03/22/14 - 07:29 am
9
1
What a sorry excuse for a

What a sorry excuse for a human being.

"It's not my fault!"

How were the bars supposed to know that he was driving?

Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

itsanotherday1
56866
Points
itsanotherday1 03/22/14 - 09:16 am
7
1
The bars have a

The bars have a responsibility to not "overserve", but it isn't their fault this idiot CHOSE to go from bar to bar. It is HIS fault, no one elses.

GiantsAllDay
14081
Points
GiantsAllDay 03/22/14 - 09:44 am
5
1
He may be right in saying

He may be right in saying that if the bars would have cut him off, the accident could have been avoided. But it doesn't matter. He is fully responsible. Even to this day, he refuses to admit it.

daphne3520
953
Points
daphne3520 03/22/14 - 10:11 am
0
0
dichotomy
45699
Points
dichotomy 03/22/14 - 11:38 am
5
1
A bartender or waitress has

A bartender or waitress has no way of knowing if a patron drove, arrived in a taxi, walked, rode bus, or came with someone who is a designated driver. Getting drunk and driving is WHOLLY the responsibility of the individual. Suing a bar is like suing Burger King if they serve a fat guy a Whopper and he has a heart attack and causes an accident while driving home.

Butterman
3694
Points
Butterman 03/22/14 - 03:15 pm
1
7
wrong
Unpublished

Having a license to serve alcohol is a priviledge..one that comes with responsibilities. It does not matter the bartenders knew the guy was driving or not and ultimately this man his criminally responsible for his own actions. But this guy was 3 times the legal limit and he was still being served. When you are that drunk it is more than obvious. We are not talking about someone who was buzzed bur someone who was approaching the fatal threshhold of alcohol consumption. Now this is civil lawsuit... this guy is already serving jail time for his criminal actions. The bars are not being criminally prosecuted here but their negilgence did contribute to the situation and the family should be compensated for their loss.

Butterman
3694
Points
Butterman 03/22/14 - 03:19 pm
1
8
imagine
Unpublished

if a bartender kept serving a minor alcohol because he thought the person looked over 21 but failed to check id. that person ends up dying of alcohol poisoning. That is negligence on the bartender that can result in an alcohol license being suspended or revoked. Comparing this to ordering a whopper is just assenine..like comparing apples and oranges.

triscuit
3642
Points
triscuit 03/22/14 - 06:43 pm
7
0
Oh geez..."wanted to go home

Oh geez..."wanted to go home and get ready for CHURCH?" Yeah, let's throw that hooey in your statement along with the rest.

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 03/22/14 - 08:01 pm
0
5
Drunks
Unpublished

The law in SC is on the plaintifs side. A bar is supposed to stop serving a drunken person, nothing to do with how they got there or how they will leave. The law is intended to protect the drunk from his or herself and the public from them. Hopefully, the State will close down these two bars and make the Longstreets well off. Too bad most of the poster here do not understand this, I might guess most are drunks?

Gage Creed
22653
Points
Gage Creed 03/22/14 - 11:21 pm
0
0
Edit

Edit

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 03/27/14 - 06:00 pm
0
0
Drunks
Unpublished

Looks like there are a lot of drunks who post here. The drunk in jail derserves to be there and the bars employees that served him while he was drunk should be in there with him.

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