The husband and daughter of a Colorado State Trooper that was killed by an intoxicated driver in 2015 have brought a wrongful death suit. NBC News 9 Denver reports that the case was filed in Douglas County District Court against Eric Henderson, the driver, as well as Brooklyn's at Invesco, a bar that allegedly served the already intoxicated Henderson. The criminal case has already concluded, finding Henderson guilty of vehicular homicide and tampering with evidence, leading to an 8-year sentence.
Henderson attended a Broncos game on November 15th and court records indicated he was drinking alcohol before, during and after the event. Following the ballgame, Henderson was a patron at Brooklyn's where the suit states he was “visibly intoxicated and displayed behavior and speech consistent with alcohol intoxication”. Brooklyn's employees proceeded to sell and serve Henderson alcoholic beverages despite his condition. He left the bar to drive home via I-25, where a concerned driver contacted law enforcement indicating that Henderson's vehicle was weaving.
Meanwhile, Trooper Jaimie Jursevics, who was at another traffic stop along I-25, was notified of the suspected drunk driver. Jursevics spotted Henderson's car approaching her and attempted to signal for him to pull over using her flashlight and by illuminating her patrol vehicle. Henderson failed to exercise any care when he failed to obey her signals and his vehicle struck the Trooper, after which he fled the scene. His blood alcohol test later revealed a .150 BAC level, which is considerably over the threshold for operating a vehicle under the influence.
C.R.S 12-47-801 states that an establishment (licensee) may be deemed liable to an injured individual, or their estate, for injuries resulting from willfully or knowingly selling or serving alcohol to those either under 21 years old, or those visibly intoxicated. The law explains further that proving if a licensee knowingly served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated patron may be determined by either direct or circumstantial evidence.
A victim is not required to prove that their injuries could have been reasonably foreseen by the licensee. It is sufficient to determine that the service of alcohol to the intoxicated patron ultimately resulted in the injuries to the victim. The maximum civil liability amount in these cases is $150,000. In Sigman v. Seafood Ltd. (Colo. 1991) the court affirmed that heirs of the fatally injured may take wrongful death action against licensees of alcohol if the deceased could have done so if the resulting actions had not led to death.
If you have lost a loved one resulting from the actions of another, Colorado law allows for civil wrongful death action to seek compensation. The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal will stand by your side during this troubling time and fight for justice. Contact the office today to begin the process of holding those responsible accountable for their actions.