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Family of drunk driving victim settles civil cases against Hooters
BEAUMONT- by Haley Bull
The family of a young woman who died when a drunk driver caused a crash settled the third and final civil case against the restaurant that served the alcohol.
The mother and adoptive father of Amber Roussel settled with Hooters in a Jefferson County court Thursday for confidential amounts. Her husband settled earlier this week.
"I don't know if anybody's happy with the outcome. I think they're satisfied that they've got closure in this case and that it's finally resolved. They can put it behind them but never forget it," Craig Watson, an attorney for Amber Roussel's adoptive father, said.
The civil cases follow criminal convictions. In March, Judge John Stevens sentenced Derek McBride to eight years in prison for intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault in the death of Roussel. McBride crashed his truck into a concrete barrier on Interstate-10 in Beaumont after driving drunk and racing. His bumper came off and flew into westbound traffic. An 18-wheeler hit the bumper and launched it into Roussel's car. The bumper remained in front of the jury throughout the trial, a reminder of the crash that killed the 32-year old mother and wife.
Before the settlements, the jury heard depositions that included testimony from Derek McBride and a former server from Hooters.
In his deposition, McBride admitted to drinking six 25 oz. beers and a bloody mary with a shot of vodka at Hooters in Beaumont before the fatal crash in July 2012.
The server at McBride's table said in her deposition he did not seem intoxicated at the table. Not until later at the bar did she see signs he was drunk.
About an hour and a half after the accident, McBride had a blood alcohol level of .11, .08 is considered intoxicated.
Watson said the case is a reminder to restaurants about over serving customers.
"When we started this case we said, you know, this is a case that needs to be tried because all these restaurants, whether it's Hooters or any other restaurant in the area, they've got a duty to the public and they've got a duty to their customer not to over serve them so they don't go out and harm themselves or harm anybody, you know, on the highways of the state of Texas," Watson said.
An attorney for Amber Roussel's mother told KFDM settling the case was a difficult decision. He said the trial was traumatic and took a toll on the family.
Hooters released a statement that following the fatal crash, it launch an investigation, took appropriate measures and began requiring additional training for employees.