Family sues bar that served driver before fatal crash
Man convicted of vehicular homicide denied impairment
Sunday, November 11, 2012
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The family of a Washington man killed by a Montana motorist has filed a lawsuit against the bar where the man drank before getting into his vehicle.
The estate of Brian Beaver sued Thursday in Missoula County District Court against KT's Hayloft Saloon.
The lawsuit contends the bar failed to use reasonable care when it served a visibly drunk Brian Holm on Nov. 9, 2010. Minutes after Holm left the bar about 10:30 p.m. he drove onto a sidewalk and killed the 24-year-old from Aberdeen.
"Not only did they serve him alcohol while he was at the bar, they also gave him a go cup when he left," said attorney Paul Ryan. "They gave him alcohol for the road and 10 minutes later that accident happened. We're seeking damages allowable by law."
Beaver was walking to dinner with two friends when Holm ran his car onto the sidewalk.
Holm was convicted in August 2011 of vehicular homicide while under the influence. Holm argued at trial that neither the alcohol nor drugs he had ingested impaired his driving. But Holm's blood-alcohol level registered 0.10 percent after the crash, above the 0.08 percent level at which a person is considered legally drunk. He also said, in the hours leading up to the accident, he took a prescription painkiller, sleep aid and antidepressant.
Hayloft owner Frank Miller said the bar is not responsible for Beaver's death. He said surveillance footage shows Holm wasn't visibly intoxicated when he left the bar. "I feel we did no wrong at the saloon," he said. "I feel the Hayloft and my help did no wrong at all and the tapes verify that."
He also said the mixed drink given to Holm in a go cup was intended for Holm's wife to consume on the premises, in the "smoking shack."
Holm was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with half suspended. He is free while the conviction is appealed.