Back in February 2008, Samuel Garcia III, aged 32 and a resident of Riverview, Florida was killed in a teen drunk driving car accident in front of the Circles Restaurant in Apollo Beach, Hillsborough County, FL. A jury has now awarded Samuel Garcia's family a record $716 award in the wrongful death civil lawsuit filed against the convenience store that sold the beer to the teen driver.
David Holdsworth, the drunk teen who caused the accident, was 17 years old back in 2008. He bought alcoholic drinks twice that day at the Best for Less Food Mart, and the accident happened when he was heading home at 75mph, 40 miles above the limit.
Samuel Garcia died when Holdsworth crashed his vehicle into the victim at the Circles Restaurant entrance. Holdsworth pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter and is currently serving a 15-year sentence, with 5 years in prison and another 10 years after that under probation.
Holdsworth's involvement in this legal matter ends here, where the Best for Less Food Mart's ordeal begins. Garcia's family filed their wrongful death civil lawsuit against the store instead of Holdsworth for causing the accident by selling alcoholic beverages to a minor.
The store apparently was selling beer to minors in paper bags and boxes. The lawsuit was filed against Nassar and Wendy Ayyoub, owners of the store. The Best for Less Food Mart has since changed hands to Nassar Ayyoub's father, currently residing in Israel.
Without the ability to seize the store as one of the defendants' assets, Garcia's family may never get to see any money. The question of collecting $716 million doesn't arise at all, and they may not even get to see the $44 million awarded for pain and suffering. But the Garcia family says it's not about the money. They want to hold the store's owners responsible for selling alcohol to minors.
Did you know?
In some states, minors can sue drinking establishments for serving them alcohol and causing a drunk driving accident.
Dram shop laws vary by state, but it's always illegal to sell alcoholic beverages to minors. Some states like New Jersey and Texas allow the minor who purchased the drinks to sue the establishment for injuries resulting from a drunk driving accident.