College fraternity settles drunk driver suit

David Yates Sep. 8, 2011, 10:00am

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity on Wednesday settled litigation brought by the family of Michelle Briggs, who died when a drunk driver struck her stalled vehicle nearly four years ago.

The death of Michelle Briggs, 36, made headlines in October 2007.

Court records show that on Oct. 21, 2007, Aaron Somers, a former Texas A&M student, rear-ended Briggs on Harvey Mitchell Parkway in College Station. She was pulled over in the shoulder lane with emergency lights flashing.

According to media reports, a jury found that Somers was driving home drunk from a fraternity party. He was convicted of killing the mother of two and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Representing Briggs' estate and her children, Joyce Briggs filed suit against Somers and Sigma Alpha Epsilon on Nov. 19, 2008, in Jefferson County District Court.

The case was set to go to trial on Sept. 12. However, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and the Briggs family reached an undisclosed settlement on Sept. 7, court records show.

Prior to the incident, the lawsuit states that Somers was an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Texas Tau Chapter and had been drinking for five hours straight at the fraternity's Jungle Crush Party.

The event's risk manager allowed Somers to leave, even though "he was obviously intoxicated and a danger to himself and others," the suit states.

The family was suing for wrongful death damages.

They are represented in part by attorney Scott Kinsel of the Beaumont law firm Moore Landrey.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 6oth District Court, is providing over the case.

Case No. B182-733

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