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The parents of the Monongalia County sheriff ’s deputy killed in a crash on Interstate 79 in February are suing the man accused of driving drunk and causing the crash, as well as two businesses that they say served the man alcohol.
Franklin and Catherine May, administrators of the estate of their son, Sgt. Todd May, filed the wrongful-death lawsuit Thursday against Jerod Green; Bugsy’s, on Point Marion Road; and Ruby Tuesday, on Venture Drive according to the Dominion Post.
West Virginia is one of the majority of states that have enacted dram shop liability laws. “Dram shop” is a reference to colonial times when alcohol-serving establishments (shops) used units of liquid measurement called drams to serve alcohol.
Dram shop laws make it possible for bar owners and alcohol servers to be held financially liable if a customer becomes obviously intoxicated on their premises and subsequently injures someone or causes property damage, typically by driving drunk.
Green, 35, of Morgantown, is awaiting trial in Greene County, Pa., on charges of murder of a law enforcement officer, homicide by vehicle while DUI, and criminal homicide, among others, for the Feb. 18 crash on I-79 — just over the Pennsylvania border — that killed Sgt. May, a 10-year veteran of the sheriff ’s department.
Police in Pennsylvania and West Virginia have accused Green, a repeat DUI offender, of driving drunk, fleeing a crash on Easton Hill, driving away from officers who pulled him over on W.Va. 100, and leading police on a chase across the state line that ended when he hit May’s parked patrol vehicle in the median of I-79.
According to the lawsuit, filed in Monongalia County Circuit Court by attorneys Matthew Thorn and James Varner, Green acted recklessly and negligently by driving under the influence of alcohol and controlled substances, by fleeing police, by disregarding traffic signals, and by speeding. Green’s recklessness and unlawful conduct resulted in the crash that killed May.
Police accused Green of driving with a blood alcohol content of .189 — more than twice the legal driving limit of .08 — the night of the crash. Green also had an anti-depressant and a drug most commonly used to treat seizures in his system to a degree that impaired his ability to drive safely. The lawsuit alleges that Bugsy’s and Ruby Tuesday acted negligently by serving Green alcohol when he was visibly intoxicated and letting him leave the establishments without arranging for safe transportation.
Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Workplace Injury/Wrongful Death Lawyers. Free books — Call us today: 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families.