Family of crash victim sues Dixie Dance Hall for serving drinks to driver

By Kelly Holleran | Feb 5, 2010

The parents and daughter of a man killed in a car crash have sued the bar that allegedly sold alchohol to the driver who was not only drunk, but also underage.

Michael Slay Chapman died on Nov. 27 when the vehicle in which he was riding was struck by a vehicle driven by Bo Pillsbury. Before the incident, the 19-year-old Pillsbury had been drinking at the Dixie Dance Hall in Beaumont's Crockett Street Entertainment District.

Chapman's parents, Wayne and Teresa Chapman, and his daughter, Zoe Jane Chapman, filed a lawsuit against Dixie Host Ltd. on Feb. 1 in Jefferson County District Court.

"Despite being obviously intoxicated and/or showing obvious signs of intoxication that a reasonable person, especially a provider of alcohol should recognize, employees of Defendant continued to serve Bo Pillsbury alcohol," the suit states.

"After drinking for an extended period of time at the Dixie Dance Hall, Bo Pillsbury was allowed to leave the premises and drive away. As he was driving in an intoxicated state, Bo Pillsbury lost control of his vehicle and struck a vehicle in which Michael Slay Chapman was a passenger."

In addition, the suit states the bar and its employees were negligent for allowing 19-year-old Pillsbury to be served alcohol when the legal drinking age in Texas is 21.

As a result of his death, the plaintiffs claim they have lost Chapman's companionship, society, love, comfort, care, maintenance, support, services, advice and counsel. In addition, they suffered mental anguish, according to the complaint.

Zoe Jane Chapman has also lost her father's inheritance because of the accident, the suit states.

The plaintiffs allege respondeat superior and common law negligence against Dixie Dance Hall.

They seek unspecified damages, plus costs, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief the court deems just.

Ken W. Lewis of Bush Lewis in Beaumont will be representing them.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: D185-848.

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