Jury Awards $10.5 Mil to Family of Woman Crushed by Monster Truck at Spearmint Rhino
In the early morning hours of March 17, 2011, 23-year-old Kasey McKenzie was walking through the parking lot of Spearmint Rhino when she was struck and killed by a Ford F-250 with enormous wheels and a monster lift kit as it left a parking space.
The driver, 27-year-old Eric Crutchfield, had spent the past several hours at the strip club drinking. Lab results would later put his blood alcohol content at0 .18, more than twice the legal limit, but at the time, police could tell only that he was wasted and that he had an absurdly, possibly illegally, large truck.
According to DPD's account of the incident, Crutchfield's truck was so big that he had no idea he'd hit McKenzie despite the fact that he ran her over with both his front and rear wheels.
It took all of a month for McKenzie's parents, who live in Granbury, to sue Crutchfield and Spearmint Rhino (the legal name of which is High Expectations Hospitality, LLC) for negligence -- Crutchfield for driving drunk (he would eventually plead guilty to intoxication manslaughter and is serving three years in prison) and Spearmint Rhino for allowing him to get that drunk and then letting him drive away.
The verdict in the case came down yesterday after a two-week trial. McKenzie's parents, Gary McKenzie and Karen McDonald, were awarded a shade more than $10.5 million in damages.
The jury determined Spearmint Rhino bears 70 percent of the responsibility for McKenzie's death and thus should pay 70 percent of that. Crutchfield will have to pay the rest.
The word from a spokesman for the family's attorney is that this is the largest award in a dram shop case (those filed against alcohol-serving establishments) since at least 1985, and probably ever.