A man who was convicted of drunken driving in connection with a traffic crash that killed two teens has filed a lawsuit against his friend and two restaurants that allegedly served him alcohol. In March 2010, James Ruiz reportedly drove a truck at a high rate of speed into the back of a passenger vehicle on Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe. The force of the impact purportedly killed two sisters and injured both of their parents. According to Santa Fe police, Ruiz had a blood alcohol content of .22, nearly three times New Mexico’s legal limit of .08, at the time of the fatal traffic collision. Ruiz, who was out on bond following his fifth driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrest when the deadly accident occurred, is currently serving a 40-year prison sentence.
In the lawsuit, Ruiz claims his friend, Gilbert Mendoza, was negligent when he provided Ruiz with the keys to the vehicle he was driving when the fatal crash took place. He also alleges that Applebee’s and the Blue Corn Café violated state and common law when the restaurants served him alcohol despite the fact that he was clearly intoxicated. Ruiz reportedly seeks monetary damages for “severe emotional distress” from Mendoza and both restaurants. A spokesperson for the restaurant group that owns the Blue Corn Café expressed sympathy for the crash victims and stated the company’s liquor policy was changed following the deadly accident. The parents of the two teens killed in the DWI collision have reportedly filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Ruiz, Mendoza, Applebee’s, and the Blue Corn Café.
Sadly, alcohol-related accidents are all too common in Santa Fe and throughout New Mexico. Everyone traveling on the roads is put at risk whenever an impaired driver makes the choice to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. In many cases, criminal charges are filed when a motorist is accused of drunk driving. Still, an injured victim may sue an allegedly intoxicated driver for compensation related to any damages that resulted from the accident. In New Mexico, a claim may also be filed against a bar or restaurant at which an inebriated motorist was served. Contact a quality New Mexico drunk driving lawyer to learn more about so-called dram shop cases.
If you were hurt or a loved one was killed by a drunk driver, you should contact the Fine Law Firm. Our dedicated Albuquerque dram shop accident attorneys are ready and willing to help you recover the compensation you deserve following an unexpected traffic accident. At the Fine Law Firm, our knowledgeable lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience handling thousands of car, truck, motorcycle, and other injury accident cases throughout the State of New Mexico. To schedule a free confidential case evaluation, please call the Fine Law Firm today at (505) 889-3463 or contact our capable attorneys through the law firm’s website.
More Blog Posts:
Driver Sentenced to Six Months in Jail for Negligent Homicide Following Death of Bicyclist in Laguna, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 16, 2013
Man Accused of Vehicular-Homicide in Connection with Rio Arriba County DWI Crash, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 13, 2013
Driver who killed 2 sisters suing restaurants, friend, by Mark Oswald, Albuquerque Journal