Sonia Baker was tragically killed early on the morning of December 15, 2009 when an intoxicated off duty Fort Worth police officer traveling twice the speed limit crashed into her PT Cruiser. I previously wrote about this horrible case.
Yesterday, her family filed a lawsuit against the Pour House bar and grill restaurant which just moved from downtown to West Seventh Street. It served the already drunk Officer Jesus Cisneros four beers and four shots of alcohol. He had already had about six beers before he arrived to meet 30 other police officers to celebrate a birthday.
Officer Cisneros, who has been charged with intoxication manslaughter, is free on a $25,000.00 bail and quit the police force.
Under the so-called Dram Shop Act, Article 2.02 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage, a bar may be held liable if it knew a patron was “obviously intoxicated,” continued to serve him alcohol, and that is the proximate cause of a tort.
Cisneros’s blood alcohol content was measured at .17% — more than two times the legal limit. It is safe to say that he was obviously intoxicated at the Pour House, but that the bar continued to serve him and his fellow oficers.
No disciplinary action has been taken against the other officers. I cannot believe that these professionals who arrest motorists for DWI would allow their fellow officer to stumble out of the bar at 1:00 a.m., knowing he could crash into an innocent victim. And how many of them drove away drunk? And since Cisneros was not authorized to take his FWPD cruiser home with him, surely someone must have noticed. Shame on them all.
The lawsuit was filed by an able Dallas attorney and I know he will see that justice is served for Sonia’s surviving husband and two children.
I have handled many of these cases before — I just settled another one yesterday for a generous sum of money when my client was hit on Belknap Street in Haltom City by a drunk driver who was fleeing the police — and am angered when my clients are crashed into by drunk drivers.