DALLAS (AP) — The parents of a 23-year-old woman killed by a monster truck outside a gentlemen’s club have won a $10.5 million civil verdict against the driver and the club for serving him alcohol.
Kasey McKenzie died after she was run over in March 2011 by a pickup truck elevated on monster tires in the parking lot of the Spearmint Rhino club in Dallas. The driver of the truck, Eric Crutchfield, was drunk and has since pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
McKenzie’s parents, Gary McKenzie and Karen McDonald, sued Crutchfield and High Expectations Hospitality, the corporate name for Spearmint Rhino, pointing to state “dram shop” laws that allow a business to be held liable if it serves alcohol to someone who was clearly intoxicated and ended up causing harm to others.
A Dallas civil jury on Tuesday awarded $4 million to the parents for mental anguish and $3.5 million for loss of companionship, along with about $3 million in other damages and expenses.
Michael Schmidt, an attorney for McKenzie’s parents, said the club served Crutchfield 10 or more drinks and shots on the night of McKenzie’s death.
“This case basically is addressing a problem that we have, certainly in Dallas, of irresponsible establishments over-serving patrons and violating the law,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt said McKenzie was hit by Crutchfield’s truck while walking in the parking lot after 2 a.m. on March 17, 2011.
According to a police report, Crutchfield “had no idea he had run over” McKenzie. A blood test after the incident showed his blood-alcohol level was 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal limit.
Crutchfield later pleaded guilty to manslaughter and received a 3-year prison sentence. His probation on a drug-possession charge was also revoked and he was sent to prison for that conviction as well. He’s projected to be released in 2015, according to state prison records.
An attorney for Crutchfield, Mathew Samuel, said his client had previously settled with McKenzie’s parents and did not comment further on the verdict. An attorney for Spearmint Rhino did not return a message seeking comment.