A jury in Pima County, Arizona, has awarded $40 million to the parents of a Tucson boy killed by a drunk driver. City taxpayers will be responsible for a third of that total, with the driver and Chuy’s restaurant sharing responsibility for the rest. Jose Rincon Jr., 14, and a friend were riding their bicycles in January 2008, when Glenda Rumsey, a drunk driver, struck both teens with her car. Young Rincon died from his injuries. Although the city was found to be only one-third responsible, its share of more than $13 million will be the largest individual judgment ever against the city.
Ms. Rumsey, whose blood-alcohol level was 0.249 two hours after the crash, was sentenced to 14 years in prison last year. Chuy’s, the restaurant where she had been drinking, had already settled with the family for an undisclosed amount. The city was found to be partially at fault because of the poor design of the road. The city says it will appeal.
During the trial, jurors heard that a city engineer had abandoned plans to add five feet of asphalt to the roadway during an improvement project. This was said to create a large offset in the lanes on either side. As a result, the drunk driver ended up in the bike lane when her lane ended and she tried to merge. The lawyer for Ms. Rumsey agreed that his client and Chuy’s were largely responsible for the crash, but he, too, blamed the city because of the road design. The city contended that its engineers did nothing wrong. The city blamed Ms. Rumsey, saying roads can’t be designed to be drunken-driver-proof.
This, like most drunk-driver cases, was an extremely sad case. The victim, a straight-A student, died hours after he took entrance exams for high school. He was known to be a kind youngster who was an exceptional musician and talented athlete. Ronald Mercaldo, a lawyer with the Mercaldo Law Firm in Tucson, Arizona, represented the Plaintiff and did a very good job.
Source: Arizona Daily Star
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.