Weatherford Democrat

September 20, 2013

Crash into house brings lawsuit

Victim claims bar was negligent in serving alcohol to man who crashed car into residence


Weatherford Democrat

— By CHRISTIN COYNE



A man reportedly injured after being struck by a drunk driver while in the living room of a Weatherford home last year is now suing Cutting Horse Bar and Grill, claiming the bar negligently overserved the driver.

The bar, however, previously said they do not serve customers who appear intoxicated. 

Gary L. Briggs was sitting in a recliner in a house in the 100 block of Live Oak Lane around 7 p.m. on March 17, 2012, when a car driven by Christopher S. Mays drove into the residence, striking Briggs and throwing him onto the hood, according to a petition filed in district court in Parker County earlier this month.

Briggs sustained a microfracture to his right knee, an injury to his left elbow a lower back strain, and a herniated disk, according the lawsuit, which states Briggs will be required to undergo back surgery and has developed severe painful symptoms since the collision.

Briggs is seeking unspecified damages for past, current and future, pain, mental anguish, medical expenses, loss of earnings and physical incapacitation, impairment or disability.

Court records show Mays, who reportedly received minor injuries in the crash, pleaded guilty in January to driving while intoxicated with a blood alcohol content level of at least 0.15 percent. He received two years probation and a $1,000 fine for the offense.

Mays’ wife reportedly told police that they had been at the Cutting Horse Bar all day.

A police officer said Mays admitted to consuming six shots, two mixed drinks, seven to 10 beers and said he had way too much.

“He stated that he had been in an argument with his wife and left the bar in a rage and began driving erratically through the neighborhood,” Officer William Bramow wrote in a probable cause affidavit for Mays’ arrest. “His wife also advised me that she was too afraid to ride with him due to his intoxication.”

The lawsuit claims the bar was negligent in serving alcohol to Mays until he was obviously intoxicated.

“Although visibly and dangerously intoxicated, Christopher S. Mays was allowed to leave defendant Cutting Horse Bar and Grill,” the petition states.

Prior to leaving, he was observed by employees and managers to be in a visibly and dangerous intoxicated condition, according to the lawsuit.

Last year, the bar told the Democrat that they could not confirm that Mays had been a customer the day of the wreck and denied serving intoxicated guests. 

“We will refuse to serve them,” Cutting Horse owner Shaun Kirwin said last year of people who seem intoxicated — whether they have been drinking at the Cutting Horse or have come from another restaurant or bar.

It is the law that people who are obviously intoxicated cannot be served, Kirwin noted, but it’s also a personal standard of all his employees.

“We care about [patrons] in that regard,” he said of ensuring they get home safely and do not have too much to drink.

It’s not unheard of for staff to take away someone’s keys or call them a cab if they appear intoxicated, Kirwin said. Staff members are all TABC certified, which isn’t a requirement but is the Cutting Horse’s policy, he said.

The Democrat contacted Cutting Horse Bar regarding the allegations this week but did not receive a response by deadline.