Wedding receptions are typically joyful events with music, dancing, feasting and friends and family gathered to celebrate a newly married couple. One event in North Carolina, however, ended in tragedy when a young man was killed in a car accident after leaving the wedding party. His parents filed a lawsuit against the hosts of the party, accusing them of allowing the parent’s underage son to drink alcohol before getting behind the wheel of his car.
The 18-year-old boy died when his vehicle smashed into a tree after departing from the wedding party on June 28, 2014. Another teen at the party has testified that she and her peers were excited that there seemed to copious amounts of free alcohol available at the celebration that they were able to openly consume without restriction. The man and woman who hosted the reception in honor of the newly married couple are being tried for aiding and abetting underage consumption of alcohol. They have both pleaded not guilty in the criminal case.
The grief-stricken mother of the boy who died recently gave her testimony in court. She said that she knew something horrific had happened when she and her husband, a state trooper, came upon the scene of her son’s accident. The road had been closed by authorities, and they would not immediately allow her husband to cross the barricade. This, she said, told her that something was terribly wrong. Sadly, she soon learned of her son’s death.
In North Carolina, adults who provide underage persons with alcohol or allow them to consume it in their presence can be sued in court should a young person be injured or killed in a car accident when they have driven after drinking. Immediate family members of a deceased victim may pursue legal action to seek compensation for damages sustained as a result of the untimely death of their loved one. If the accused adults are also convicted on criminal charges, proof of the conviction may be offered as evidence of financial liability in a related civil court proceeding.
Source: ABC News, “Couple on Trial for Allowing Underage Drinking Before Teenager Killed in Crash“, Steve Osunsami and Ben Candea, July 29, 2015