A woman was killed and two other people were injured in a head-on collision involving a suspected drunk driver last Monday, June 24. The victim killed in the crash has been identified as 44-year-old Heather R. Blackman.
Missouri State Highway Patrol reported the crash at roughly 9:30 p.m. The crash happened on I-70, just west of the Adams Dairy Parkway.
An online crash report states that 37-year-old Desiree C. Smith was driving a 2011 Cadillac west in the eastbound lane of I-70 when her vehicle collided head-on with a 2003 Ford being driven by Blackman. Blackman was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
A passenger in Blackman's vehicle, 18-year-old Chloe D. Atkinson, was moderately injured in the crash and brought to Centerpoint Medical Center for treatment.
Smith was also seriously injured in the crash and treated at Centerpoint Medical. She has been charged with felony manslaughter, DWI, no insurance, and driving on the wrong side of the interstate.
Attorney contributor Reed Martens represents people who have been injured by drunk drivers and the families of fatal drunk driving crash victims in civil lawsuits. Reed has offered some general information concerning the legal options available to these victims and families in Missouri:
Missouri is one of several states which allow people who have been injured in alcohol-related accidents to file lawsuits against alcohol vendors, depending on the circumstances of their injuries. These lawsuits are known as "dram shop" claims. Additionally, people in all 50 states can file personal injury lawsuits against individuals who cause alcohol-related injuries.
According to Missouri's dram shop laws, injured individuals can file civil lawsuits against bars, taverns, and other alcohol vendors for alcohol-related injuries caused by customers if the alcohol vendor served the customer after the customer had become "visibly intoxicated."
The law goes on to specify that someone may be considered "visibly intoxicated" if he or she shows "significantly uncoordinated physical action or significant physical dysfunction."
For example, if a bar serves alcohol to someone who is unable to walk without falling down and that customer causes a drunk driving crash after leaving the bar, anyone injured in that crash could have grounds for a dram shop claim against that bar.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed after being hit by a drunk driver in Missouri, you can learn more about your family's legal options by speaking with an experienced drunk driving injury victims lawyer.