Drunk driver sues friend: A New Mexico man serving 40 years in prison for drunk driving sued his friend and two restaurants for serving him drinks and allowing him to drive drunk.
A repeat drunk driver convicted in a crash that killed two people sued his drinking partner and two New Mexico restaurants that gave him alcohol.
James Ruiz of Santa Fe filed suit against Applebee’s and the Blue Corn Cafe, as well as Gilbert Mendoza, a friend he was drinking with, reported the Albuquerque Journal on Friday. He claims the parties let him drive drunk before he crashed his vehicle in 2010, killing two teenagers in south Santa Fe.
The lawsuit was filed exactly one day after the third anniversary of the fatal car crash.
Ruiz is seeking damages against Mendoza, who he claims gave him the keys to his truck before the crash.
“The motor vehicle crash and its effects upon everybody” involved caused Ruiz to suffer and “continue[s] to suffer emotional distress,” reads the lawsuit, which was filed by Ruiz without a lawyer.
The restaurants’ willingness to serve him alcohol and Mendoza’s alleged negligence “was a cause and/or contributing cause of the Plaintiff’s severe emotional distress,” it added.
According to The Associated Press, Ruiz is serving a 40-year prison sentence for driving drunk, causing the fatal crash. He pleaded guilty in 2011.
Authorities said he was out of jail on bond for his fifth DWI arrest when he crashed his vehicle, AP said. His blood-alcohol concentration was 0.22 percent, around three times the legal limit.
In his suit, Ruiz said he was “convicted and incarcerated due to the chain of events that the defendants set in motion,” according to the Journal. He added that he has “suffered and will continue to suffer from the emotional distress due to the loss of liberty and enjoyment of life.”
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