Child Hurt, Molly Moulton Charged in Eufaula, AL, DUI Accident
Eufaula, AL -- February 1, 2017, a 10-year-old boy was injured due to an accident where alleged drunk driver Molly Moulton struck him in the roadway.
The accident occurred at about 6:00 p.m. at the intersection of Highway 30 and South Eufaula Avenue.
According to local authorities, a 10-year-old boy was attempting to cross through the intersection on foot. Somehow, 37-year-old Moutlon failed to see the boy in time and could not avoid the collision. The vehicle struck the young boy in the road.
Emergency services came to the scene and transported the boy to Medical Center Barbour with critical injuries.
Following the incident, police placed Moulton under arrest. She has been charged with first degree assault and driving under the influence.
The accident remains under investigation. No further details have been released.
Map of the Area
It's certainly not uncommon to see DUI accidents like this one happen in the evening hours, usually caused by people driving home from bars or restaurants. A lot of people going for a drink after work, hitting up happy hours, etc., leads to drunk drivers out on the road. If it turns out that the driver in this accident was indeed under the influence of alcohol, then it's possible that there could be a claim under dram shop law. Basically, dram shop law determines whether or not a bar restaurant, or other entity can be held liable for an accident after serving alcohol to an intoxicated person.
These laws can vary from state to state. In Alabama dram shop law is defined as follows:
- Every wife, child, parent, or other person who shall be injured in person, property, or means of support by any intoxicated person or in consequence of the intoxication of any person shall have a right of action against any person who shall, by selling, giving, or otherwise disposing of to another, contrary to the provisions of law, any liquors or beverages, cause the intoxication of such person for all damages actually sustained, as well as exemplary damages.
- Upon the death of any party, the action or right of action will survive to or against his executor or administrator.
- The party injured, or his legal representative, may commence a joint or separate action against the person intoxicated or the person who furnished the liquor, and all such claims shall be by civil action in any court having jurisdiction thereof.
What this is saying is that when someone sells or gives alcohol to someone who appears to be intoxicated, then in addition to the drunk driver, they can also be held liable for damages resulting from that person's intoxication. So say that someone goes to a bar, buys 7 or 8 drinks over an hour or two, then drives drunk and crashes into another car, killing someone. The family of the victim in this case could pursue compensation from the bar that served this driver.
Sometimes people see this as controversial, usually saying something along the lines of, "So you sue a bar just for doing their job? How is that fair?" The answer to this is that lawfully serving alcohol is a bar's job. It's too easy for some to fixate on the "serving alcohol" part of the equation, but forget that we expect it to be done lawfully.
In most dram shop cases our firm has handled, the intoxicated person wasn't usually served a drink or two more than they should have been, but sometimes as many as 10 or 15 drinks more than what any responsible retailer would have offered them. That drunk then got behind the wheel and hurt someone. Alabama and many other states recognize that any reasonable person should be able to notice when an individual appears intoxicated. At this point, they need to be cut off, otherwise they can present a serious danger to the general public.
Alcohol is a dangerous substance when handled improperly. Alabama law holds people to the standard that if someone appears to be intoxicated, then it is illegal to serve them alcohol. Stopping an intoxicated person from drinking more is an important line of defense between a drunk driver and the general public. If a bar, restaurant, or other business serves alcohol to someone who appears intoxicated, then they deserve to be held accountable for their actions. Is it really justice that in some states, a drunk driving accident can leave a family in mourning and a driver in jail while some bar out there counts their profits from that night? They are just as culpable in accidents like these, and they should be treated as such.
Ultimately, if someone breaks the law, they need to be held accountable for their actions. Criminal law holds drunk drivers responsible; Alabama's civil law provides a system with which to hold negligent parties accountable for serving those drunk drivers. Anyone who directly contributes to someone else's harm should face the consequences, and dram shop law is one tool which allows victims and their families to accomplish this.
--Grossman Law Offices