Jury: Sports bar responsible in drunken driving crash, awards man $2M



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A jury held owners of a Brevard County sports bar responsible for serving alcohol to an underage girl, who then got behind the wheel of a car and hit a man holding a 2-year-old child.

The jury awarded the man $2 million in damages.

"Me and my little nephew, we almost got killed," said Isaac Sanchez.

Sanchez said he only remembers part of the crash that nearly cost him his life.

"Everything happened so fast you know, it was like a flash -- the impact, the pain," said Sanchez.

Police said the crash happened about two miles from Crossroads Sports Bar.

According to police, Valerie Dibble, 20, had a blood-alcohol content above .228 when she ran off the road, across a lawn and hit Sanchez.

Sanchez's nephew was thrown from his uncle's arms, but was uninjured. Sanchez suffered serious injuries.

Dibble was convicted of drunken driving and causing serious bodily injury. She was sentenced to three years of community supervision.

The owners of Crossroads Sports Bar declined to comment because the matter is still under litigation.

According to court documents obtained by Channel 9 Eyewitness News, a jury has already settled the matter.

Nighttime of Palm Bay, Inc., the listed owners of the bar, were sued in civil court for willfully furnishing alcohol to a person who was not of drinking age.

The bar maintained in court that Dibble was never inside. But late Thursday night, a Brevard County jury in the 18th Circuit Court found the bar owners responsible and awarded Sanchez the damages.

Sanchez said he hopes they also handed down a message that resonates far beyond Central Florida.

"There is always a responsibility for everything, and in this case, they were not responsible at all," said Sanchez.

WFTV checked with the state and found that the sports bar has had no prior complaints to the state involving alcohol.