Three people suffered injuries on Wednesday night when a van backed into Poor Richard's Restaurant, located on the 100 block of Hilltop Village Center.
At around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, a customer who had just picked up a take-out order at Poor Richard's backed their fan through the front of the restaurant as they were leaving. Part of the front wall and a bar were damaged in the crash.
The van driver fled the scene but Eureka police tracked him down a short time later. On Thursday, officers charged the driver - 26-year-old Christopher Joseph Zotta - with DWI and leaving the scene of an accident. His bond was set at $25,000.
Police said that three people were seriously injured and hospitalized. According to fire officials, there is no structural damage and the building will not be condemned.
Attorney contributor Reed Martens represents people who have been injured by drunk drivers. Here is some information from Reed on the legal rights these people have in Missouri:
In Missouri and many other states, there are two possible forms of lawsuit available to people who have been injured by drunk drivers. The first is a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver. Additionally, people injured by drunk drivers in Missouri may file a dram shop lawsuit against an alcohol vendor, depending on certain conditions.
According to Missouri's dram shop law, alcohol vendors can be held liable for injuries caused by a customer if the customer was visibly intoxicated when the vendor served them, showing "significantly uncoordinated physical action or significant physical dysfunction."
In Missouri, only vendors that sell alcohol for consumption on the property can be held liable - meaning bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. Convenience stores and shops cannot be held liable in a dram shop claim.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a drunk driver in Missouri, you can learn more about your legal options by speaking to an experienced drunk driving injury victims lawyer.