KDVR FOX Denver reports that on July 20, 2019, a drunk driving crash occurred at the intersection of Bruce Randolph Avenue and Columbine Street in the Clayton neighborhood. One person was killed. Her name was Alayah "Lay Lay" Harbin and she was only two weeks away from turning 5 years old.
The driver has been identified as 28-year-old babysitter Shaquea Smith, who was driving Harbin and other children in her vehicle while speeding and blowing red lights before the crash. She had an open container in her car and a prior alcohol conviction. Allegedly, none of the children were buckled in. Smith was charged with vehicular homicide.
On Tuesday, members of the community gathered at the intersection for a candlelight vigil. If anyone has questions or would like to reach out to the family, please contact Pat Johnson-Gibson at 720-429-0613.
Attorney contributor Dan Lipman often works with victims of drunk driving. In this section, we have asked him to share his legal expertise on the potential options that may be available to drunk driving victims and their families.
In Colorado and many other states, someone who has been injured by a drunk driver can pursue a few different legal routes in trying to receive financial compensation. Most commonly, a victim may file a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver. If the victim has been killed, their family may still be able to entitled compensation as well. But given the complexity and uniqueness of each case, sometimes a victim may choose an alternate legal route.
For example, a lot of states observe dram shop laws. Under these laws, a drunk driving victim can actually file a lawsuit against the vendor who sold the alcohol to the drunk driver. Usually, however, there are circumstances that must be violated and they can vary by state. According to Colorado dram shop laws, an alcohol vendor may be made liable for a drunk driving accident if the vendor is:
Essentially, then, if one of these elements are violated, the drunk driving victim may be able to bring forth a lawsuit against the vendor.