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Fatal DUI accident sees wrongful death suit

Some readers may remember the accident that took the lives of three people in Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania, in 2010. The drunk driving accident will be revisited in the near future.

Families of two of the victims recently filed wrongful death lawsuits against the man who caused the accident and several institutions that may have continued serving the man when he should have been cut off. State law dictates that bartenders must stop serving anyone who is clearly intoxicated. That means that businesses and bartenders could be held liable in these wrongful death suits.

On the night of the accident, the alleged drunk driver had gone to a hockey game with a bus trip. According to his own statement, he had consumed between 15 and 20 beers at the hockey game.

Though he had a designated driver for the evening, the man ended up driving after his designated driver left without him. The suit says this driver should have found the man another ride home. The suit also blames the organizers of the bus trip.

When the accident occurred, the man had a blood alcohol content of 0.23 -- nearly three times the legal limit in Pennsylvania. He had collided with a vehicle at the intersection of Easton Avenue and Willow Park in Bethlehem Township just after midnight. In the other vehicle were two women and a man who had just left a wake for the man's grandmother.

The vehicles collided as the three individuals went through a green light at the intersection. All of them died at the scene.

The drunk driver pled guilty and was given a prison sentence of 7.5 to 18 years this month. His plea could help strengthen the wrongful death lawsuits, which are designed to give families compensation to help cover medical and funeral expenses.

Source: The Express-Times, "Families of Anthony Bruno victims file wrongful death suit," Sara K. Satullo, Jan. 31, 2012 


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