Mom of teen drunk driver killed in crash seeks to force mediation

David Yates Dec. 8, 2014, 11:00am


The mother of the teenage girl – who made headlines last year when she died shortly after crashing while driving intoxicated – is seeking to force the defendants into mediation, arguing they are holding mediation “hostage.”

Individually and as the representative of Sarah Comstock's estate, Jennifer Comstock filed suit against West Bar & Grill, Hartman Building Specialties, John Clanan and Chris Bennefield on Sept. 25, 2013, in Jefferson County District Court.

According to the original petition, on Feb. 15, 2013, Sarah, 19, was fatally injured when Clanan, a Hartman employee, struck her vehicle in the early morning hours, despite being waived to the other side of the highway by flashing lights.

Prior to the collision, Sarah and Bennefield were drinking alcoholic beverages at West Bar, even though one of the bartenders was aware she was under the legal drinking age.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission investigated the incident and issued two violations to West Bar.

A police report following the incident stated Sarah was traveling northbound on U.S. 69 at a high rate of speed when she lost control and stuck a center concrete barrier near Keith Road.

Clanan struck her vehicle and she died a few days later.

Court records show that on Nov. 13 the plaintiff filed a motion to enforce mediation, stating the defense counsel had expressed interest in mediating the case but failed to follow up.

The motion states plaintiff’s counsel, without objection from the defense, locked in a date with a mediator for Dec. 8, but defense counsel then said they were unaware of the set mediation date and weren’t even sure if they had permission to mediate.

“This is a serious case involving the death of plaintiff’s nineteen-year-old daughter,” the motion states. “The defendants do not want to go to trial in November, or January, and they are holding mediation hostage until they get this case delayed. Justice delayed is justice denied.”

The plaintiff is asking the court to force the defendants to mediate on Dec. 8.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of exemplary damages.

Steven Davis of the Houston law firm Davis & Davis represents the plaintiff.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court, is presiding over the case.

Case No. B194-828

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