Woman hit by alleged drunk driver sues restaurant

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Apr 1, 2013

GALVESTON - Friendswood resident Barbara Gruener is pursuing legal action following a two-vehicle accident with an alleged drunk driver, recent court documents say. 

In a lawsuit filed March 21 in Galveston County District Court, Gruener claims Caryan Reid, also of Friendswood, had a blood alcohol content level of .324 when she "slammed head on" into her in the 500 block of Sunset Boulevard last Jan. 10. Gruener's husband is a co-plaintiff in the litigation.

The plaintiff, a counselor at Westwood Elementary School, explains that she was en route to Friendswood Junior High School to pick up one of her three children and meet with another counselor at the time of the event.

Meanwhile, Reid was allegedly fresh from a day-long "drinking escapade" which ended at nearby Birraporetti's restaurant, according to the original petition.

The suit shows both parties were traveling on Sunset -- Gruener going south while Reid headed north -- when the defendant's vehicle veered into Gruener's lane of traffic on the Coward Creek Bridge and smashed into the plaintiff's car.

Gruener states that "severe and debilitating injuries to her body, head and neck" notwithstanding, she exited her vehicle to check on Reid, adding she "then staggered to the edge of the bridge where she lost consciousness."

Both drivers were taken to a nearby hospital, and authorities charged Reid with felony intoxicated assault, according to the lawsuit.

Birraporetti's and its managing companies -- Kings Cross Ventures LLC, CEL Texan Ventures LLC and Theater Restaurant Partners Inc. -- are faulted for serving the respondent numerous amounts of alcohol although they were aware she was already in a drunken state.

Reid's spouse is also a defendant because the 2004 Nissan Xterra driven by Reid belongs to him, the suit says.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney J. Christopher Dean of the Dean Law Firm in Houston is representing the Grueners, and Galveston County 10th District Court Judge Kerry L. Neves is presiding over the case.

Case No. 13-CV-445

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