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View Full Version : Drunk driver kills best friend - whose fault was it?


wantafanta
07-06-09, 04:30
You can watch the whole show about teen drunk driving at this link.

http://abcnews.go.com/2020

I saw the whole show on TV. Two girls - best friends and college freshman - went into a
bar somewhere in Florida (I think). Maybe it was a club. They got in - maybe you could get in if you were 18, but you had to be 21 to drink. Anyways, some guy saw the two girls and got them drinks - shots and whatnot - and before long, both the girls were ripped. They got into the car together to drive home at about 3 AM. The girl driving lost control of the car, it went off the road and down the embankment and right into a huge tree. The passenger was killed instantly. The driver went to the hospital and had 140 stitches put in her head. She survived, but her blood alchohol tested at twice the legal limit - .15 or somesuch. So she was arrested and faced upto 15 years in prison.

She plea bargained and is now 9 months into a 4 year sentence. The parents of the dead friend are furious. They wanted the whole 15 year sentence.

Now this is where I have problems. Both girls were underage. Both girls got smashed. The girl who died chose to get into a car with a driver who was very drunk. No doubt, if the car belonged to the dead friend, then SHE would have been the one driving. The same thing could have happened, only SHE would be the one in jail, and the surviving girl would be the dead one. In my opinion, neither girl was any more at fault than the other. Not only that, they were served drinks when it was against the law. Who served the drinks? Who got them drunk? And how did they get into a club underage, or if it was legal for underaged to get in, then it should not be legal.

The parents are just trying to hang the blame on someone else. Never mind that they should have raised a girl with more common sense than to go out and get smashed at 18. I never did that. Let's be honest, how many drunken drivers believe they are too drunk to drive - and say "gee, I'm really drunk, I better not drive tonight."? Not many. Once you are drunk, you are no longer in any condition to make the call about whether or not you should be driving.

violentblossom
07-06-09, 04:36
I agree that both teen girls were equally to blame and i agree about the role reversal with the girls. In fact, i agree wholly and completely with your entire post.

In my opinion, the bar/club/whatever needs to be held responsible.

The surviving girl obviously did not mean to kill her friend. They both made stupid choices and both were changed in shocking ways.. one, obviously, losing her very life.

VictorXD
07-06-09, 04:42
1° thing: why were they there any way??It cn be fun, awesome and all that, but they shouldn't be there, should they?

2° thing: they were not high or anything to drink or anything, so they knew what they were doing is against the law, andthe ignored.

3° thing: the guy who drunked them up, should have called a taxi for those 2, otherwise ths wouldn't had happened.

So, I think its their fault,they knew that was wrong, and they did, so, nothing I can do.

spikejones
07-06-09, 04:52
blame can be scattered across the board here, including the parents, the bar, the guy who bought the drinks, and even the girls themselves for actually choosing to drink in the first place. The parents can really only be held but so liable though - regardless of how "well" a parent raises their child, it is inevitably up to that child to make their own decisions in life. The guy who bought them the drinks can be blamed perhaps for actually buying drinks for underage girls. It happens quite a lot really. Its not like they just sit at the bar and have their little X's showing the whole time. they could be out on the dance floor and some guy just offers them a drink. The bar can be blamed for not stepping in and saying "whoa.. you're not driving in that condition - we'll call you a taxi cab". Regardless of all the contributing factors, the girl who was driving is most certainly to be held responsible for her actions. Had she not chosen to get drunk - this all may very well have not happened. Sure we could traipse down the road of calling Alcohol itself the one that is to blame, but there are plenty of others who are capable of drinking responsibly.

Catapharact
07-06-09, 05:07
The bar should be blamed? Why? Because they decided to not be "forceful" enough with two young girls who might end up pressing charges against them for harrasment and end up winning their given case? Its a double edged sword now isn't it? If enforcement becomes stringent, people are gonna end up crying on and on about their civil liberties. If its not stringent enough, tragedies like these happen and people actually get the gaul to blame perfectly innocent business owners who are just trying to earn an living.

No. The bar can't be held responsible in this given case. How do we know if the given employee in question decided to act upon his own terms to get these girls drunk and heavy? All we know is that he was trying to be social with them. Seems like the liability falls on the given employee.

violentblossom
07-06-09, 05:09
Um, bars legally are not supposed to sell drinks to underage people. :confused:

spikejones
07-06-09, 05:23
Um, bars legally are not supposed to sell drinks to underage people. :confused:

from what I understood, it was not sold directly to them. some "of age" guys bought the drinks and carried them to the girls.

as for bars calling taxi - cabs for drunk people, it is not an uncommon practice actually. In fact, it is policy at many places to attempt to persuade an obviously drunk person not to drive home, and to call them a taxi cab. moreso.. it is also policy to cut off an obviously drunk person. There is no logical reason why a drunk ass would win a civil case against a bar for following policy and attempting to save lives. Any sane judge would dismiss the case if it even made it into their court room. There simply is no plausible case when the establishment is doing everything they can (and should do) in order to keep a real law from being broken.

as for the "fake id" issue, you don't need a fake id in order to get into clubs and bars. Not unless they have regulations on age to enter. Clubs are generally 18 minimum with a cover charge, bars generally don't have an age limit whatsoever except after certain hours - but again it is generally 18 years old. If the girls are of said age - they don't need a fake id to enter. And we of course already know that they weren't the ones doing the buying, it was "some guys".

Catapharact
07-06-09, 05:30
There is no logical reason why a drunk ass would win a civil case against a bar for following policy and attempting to save lives. Any sane judge would dismiss the case if it even made it into their court room. There simply is no plausible case when the establishment is doing everything they can (and should do) in order to keep a real law from being broken.

http://pnwriders.com/general-discussion/99562-drunk-motorcyclist-hits-boar-wins-8-6-million-court.html

Reality is absurd.

As for the given fake ID senerio:

There is more to it actually. Seems like Watafanta either delibertaly or unknowingly kept key information regarding this case.

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Story?id=7726708&page=2

One turning point in the case came when investigators found an identification card in Rasdall's car.

The card belonged to Charlotte Lambert, then a 22-year-old model who worked with Rasdall and Gorman at a local Hooters restaurant. Lambert told investigators that several months before the fatal crash, Rasdall had been asking for an I.D. from someone 21 or older. Lambert admitted that she gave Rasdall her duplicate I.D. card.

patriots88888
07-06-09, 05:38
From a legal standpoint I understand your question, but does it really matter?

One girl lost her life and another is going to have to carry the guilt and sorrow of the entire incident for the remainder of her life. Blame is always easy to dish out, but the cold, harsh reality is, it doesn't change a thing.

spikejones
07-06-09, 05:55
http://pnwriders.com/general-discussion/99562-drunk-motorcyclist-hits-boar-wins-8-6-million-court.html

Reality is absurd.

absurd it is indeed.. but likely that the money was awarded to the guy due to the fact that it was a jury trial. I'm not quite as certain if the drunk person would win a case that is heard only by a judge.

As for the given fake ID senerio:

There is more to it actually. Seems like Watafanta either delibertaly or unknowingly kept key information regarding this case.

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Story?id=7726708&page=2

this does certainly change things. it is totally a different story from what was described by wantafanta. odd...

Cochrane
07-06-09, 07:01
Totally a different story? Hardly. Without that there would still be the possibility that the guy was a made-up story, or that he just brought them what they asked from him.

The basic point, though, is: The driver is the one with the legal responsability for the car and it's passengers. Sure, her friend absolutely should have known better, but she was the one actually required by law to know better.

http://pnwriders.com/general-discussion/99562-drunk-motorcyclist-hits-boar-wins-8-6-million-court.html

Reality is absurd.
Absurd? Just because the guy was drunk does not mean that the state gets absolved of it's duties to keep the highways safe, or at least warn motorists when it can't do so reliably. Drunk driving does not mean you loose all your rights. Whether it was justified in this particular case, I obviously can't say, and the amount of money you get in american courts is outrageously high anyway, but it seems to me that he had a valid case.

Catapharact
07-06-09, 07:18
Absurd? Just because the guy was drunk does not mean that the state gets absolved of it's duties to keep the highways safe, or at least warn motorists when it can't do so reliably. Drunk driving does not mean you loose all your rights. Whether it was justified in this particular case, I obviously can't say, and the amount of money you get in american courts is outrageously high anyway, but it seems to me that he had a valid case.

Given the fact that the Wild boar packs do not settle down in one particular area for long, its hard to say if the given place needed a crossing sign right away. The fact of the matter is, the given driver was too impared to take on to the road like that. He did not just hit one Boar... He hit 6 of them. IMO he should have gotten a lighter sentence... Not 8.6 million for his stupidity.

*Sigh* Reverse Darwinism in effect here people.

rowanlim
07-06-09, 08:25
It's sad that the girl lost her life but they should've known better.

Lara.Jolie7
07-06-09, 10:19
That's bad
Well
In brazil they wast so much money in TV adds about HIV and alcoohol+car
Car become so dangerous those days
TO get a car license now u need to do a LOT more then before
Now if drink 1 beer or a half and is driving u get in trouble here (São Paulo)!

And IMO this is the most dumb thing, drive and drink... wtf we are in 2009 and people didn't learn?
Info EVERYONE HAVE, but they think that won't happen to them
Take the car when u're going to drink is so dumb, since u get drunk U think that u're Superman or smthing like that

Dennis's Mom
07-06-09, 13:53
"Third party liability" is a long-standing tradition in Texas. It's one of the things you learn as a server. It is against the law to serve drinks to minors and it is perfectly legal to refuse to serve someone drunk. I did it myself. A guy downed 3 Crown and cokes in swift abandon, and I told him "no more. If you leave and get in an accident, I'm liable."

If guys were buying these girls drinks, they have liability, as far as I'm concerned. I'm not absolving the two girl; they both behaved foolishly and paid a huge price, but I bet dollars to donuts if guys were buying them drinks, they probably knew or guessed they were under-age, and I'm sure they knew they were too drunk to drive.

I understand the dead girl's parents' pain, but I'm not sure what they hope to accomplish by letting the other girl sit in jail.

VictorXD
07-06-09, 14:56
:confused:Erm, Lara.Jolie7, the "dry law" is for the entire country, but your no that screwed, police has more to worry about then 1 guy who had half beer. But I do agree wit the law though:) The car accidents have been reduced now:D

wantafanta
07-06-09, 15:07
I wasn't hiding anything. I recalled just what I saw on TV because I couldn't view Flash on my computer. The problem is clubs which allow 18-year-olds in - but do not allow them to drink. Once they get into the club, it's very hard to keep them from drinking - as this piece showed. And let's face it, if they go in, they expect to be drinking. The only place a club can control underage drinking is at the door.

It was never made clear if these girls used fake IDs to get into the club, or if it was allowed, as I believe was the case. My point was - BOTH girls went in - BOTH girls got drunk. BOTH girls got into the car. The parents should not be blaming the driver. She was only driving because it was HER car. If their daughter's car was being used, then SHE would be the one driving. Would they want a 15-year sentence then? I doubt it. They would blame the club - and I believe the club shares the blame.

How you raise your kids has a lot to do with the way they will make decisions later, I believe. I have to sell alcohol all the time and card people. Many are grad students just over 21. You should SEE all the booze these girls buy - whiskey, vodka, u name it. I do not feel any safer on the road with them at the wheel, than I would if an 18-year old were driving. Being 21 does not make you a better risk on the road.

If the state really wants to make the roads safer - then they should raise the drinking age to 25 or 30. Certainly, 18-year olds should not be allowed to enter a club where alchol is served. There should be alchol-free clubs for teens - with NO ONE OVER 21 admitted! Certainly, roadside taverns should be banned. You must drive to get there, and drive to get home. That's asking for trouble.

Cochrane
07-06-09, 15:29
I wasn't hiding anything. I recalled just what I saw on TV because I couldn't view Flash on my computer. The problem is clubs which allow 18-year-olds in - but do not allow them to drink. Once they get into the club, it's very hard to keep them from drinking - as this piece showed. And let's face it, if they go in, they expect to be drinking. The only place a club can control underage drinking is at the door.

It was never made clear if these girls used fake IDs to get into the club, or if it was allowed, as I believe was the case. My point was - BOTH girls went in - BOTH girls got drunk. BOTH girls got into the car. The parents should not be blaming the driver. She was only driving because it was HER car. If their daughter's car was being used, then SHE would be the one driving. Would they want a 15-year sentence then? I doubt it. They would blame the club - and I believe the club shares the blame.
Well, even if it's going to sound heartless, you can hardly punish the other girl now, can you? Yes, even if both basically did the same thing, the moment that one girl took the keys and started driving, she assumed the legal responsabilities for it all. If she didn't like that, well, she shouldn't have driven (or at least shouldn't have gotten drunk).

I agree that it can't be about what the other family wants here, they are hardly rational. I generally do not believe in paying too much attention to feelings of the victims when setting punishment, since just punishment is usually not revenge, but victims tend to see it differently. I think that four years is already too harsh. Still, I think it's not wrong that she is being punished here.

How you raise your kids has a lot to do with the way they will make decisions later, I believe. I have to sell alcohol all the time and card people. Many are grad students just over 21. You should SEE all the booze these girls buy - whiskey, vodka, u name it. I do not feel any safer on the road with them at the wheel, than I would if an 18-year old were driving. Being 21 does not make you a better risk on the road.

If the state really wants to make the roads safer - then they should raise the drinking age to 25 or 30. Certainly, 18-year olds should not be allowed to enter a club where alchol is served. There should be alchol-free clubs for teens - with NO ONE OVER 21 admitted! Certainly, roadside taverns should be banned. You must drive to get there, and drive to get home. That's asking for trouble.

Despite what I said above, I do agree with you that club owners should do more against drunk driving. However, I don't think that age checks are truly the problem here. As you said yourself: A 21 year old who is too drunk to drive is not any safer than an 18 year old teen who is too drunk to drive (and, frankly, I don't think a 21 year old person is, on average, that much more responsible).

Banning roadside taverns seems like a good idea, although probably difficult to implement. Other ideas might be to require clubs to offer some sort of transportation (free would be best) back home. It might also be a good idea to require car owners to give up their keys when they enter, and only get them back after a breath analyzer test. There is a certain risk of abuse, but I am much less worried about stolen cars on the road (as long as it's not mine, but I don't normally go to such clubs) than about cars with their rightful owner drunk at the wheel.

MattTR
07-06-09, 15:29
Ugh.. that's crazy. Just another reason while I avoiding drinking all together.. to be honest it's both of their faults.

Lew
07-06-09, 17:50
Oh this is so sad :( Its 18 to drink though isnt it ? Even if im drunk I still wouldn't drive..... I'd have got a taxi....

Draco
07-06-09, 18:01
The driver is responsible for everything that happens to that car and anyone in it. Period.