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Pedestrian's estate sues bar for DUI death

The estate of a man who was killed in a drunk driving accident has filed a suit against the bar that allegedly over-served the intoxicated vehicle operator. The wrongful death suit alleges that the establishment served an obviously drunken customer, who then got behind the wheel and killed an area resident. The bar, KT's Hayloft Saloon, had a responsibility to limit the amount of alcohol served to its patrons, according to court documents.

The suit alleges that bartenders at the establishment continued to serve the man even after he was obviously intoxicated. The man left the bar with an open container and got into his vehicle. Just 10 minutes after he left the bar, the suspect crossed over the center lane on a busy Missoula street, killing the pedestrian as he walked along the side of the road.

Not only did the bar serve the man drinks to excess, but the bartenders also gave him a to-go cup, which is blatantly against the law in that jurisdiction. The driver later admitted that he was drunk, and he was also found with prescription painkillers and sleep aids in his system at the time of the accident.

The man who died was a tourist visiting Yellowstone National Park from Washington. The 24-year-old victim was a hard-working citizen, according to his friends and family. He was thrown into a brick wall when the vehicle struck him, and the young man was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

Courtroom documents show that the suit is seeking compensation from the bar for personal injury costs, along with medical bills, pain and suffering and loss of companionship. Emotional distress, wrongful death and future economic loss are also included, as the man had a wife and young son whom he supported.

The driver in the case has been sentenced to 30 years of prison time in connection with the accident. He was convicted in 2011 of vehicular homicide while intoxicated, according to local media reports.

Source: The Billings Gazette, "Estate of man killed in drunken crash sues Lolo bar that served driver," Martin Kidston, Nov. 10, 2012.

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