Saturday April 27, 2013

BENNINGTON -- A man injured in a car crash early last year is suing the driver of the vehicle as well as a local bar and the bar's landlord.

Joseph Hall, through his attorney Bernard J. Boudreau of Winburn Law Offices, filed the complaint in Bennington Superior Court Civil Division on Feb. 22. The suit names driver Chase Eutzy, Ryan's Cafe and JJ&J Inc. as defendants.

Hall was riding in a vehicle Eutzy was driving along South Stream Road on Jan. 1, 2012. The lawsuit claims Eutzy was intoxicated, and thus negligent, when he lost control of the vehicle and went off the road, hitting a tree.

There is no record in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division of Eutzy having been charged with any crime in connection with the crash.

The lawsuit alleges that Ryan's is also liable for Hall's injuries under the Vermont Dram Shop Act. That law allows those injured by intoxicated drivers to seek damages from establishments that serve alcohol to people who appear intoxicated. The complaint alleges that Eutzy was at Ryan's before the crash and was served alcohol by the bar's employees, who should have known he was intoxicated.

According to Boudreau, Hall suffered severe orthopedic injures that required extensive medical treatment.

Responses have not yet been filed with the court. A person who answered the phone at Ryan's said the business has no comment. Attempts to reach Eutzy and JJ&J were not successful.

According to state police, Eutzy, then 29, was found unresponsive at the crash scene. He was taken to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center by the Pownal Rescue Squad and later transported to Albany Medical Center in New York with a severe head injury. Hall, who was 25 at the time, was also taken to SVMC with back, hip, and leg injuries. Police said they suspected alcohol may have been a factor.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr