Last August 19th a woman from Lexington county was added to the growing list of people killed by drivers who are to intoxicated to be behind the wheel.  Caitlin Clark died at the hands of James Gainey Jr. who was later convicted of reckless homicide and a DUI.  He is currently serving 5 years in a state prison.  However, this wasn’t the last legal action this case would involve.

All over South Carolina victims’ families are beginning to sue the establishments who serve patrons who they knew were already to intoxicated and instead of cutting them off continued to serve them.  Families are losing loved ones to these drunk drivers, and they have had enough.  These cars and restaurants are partly liable when they continue to serve someone alcohol knowing they are already unfit to drive.

“It’s a growing problem,” said Todd Ellis, the attorney representing Caitlin Clark’s father in his lawsuit against the company that runs the Tin Roof bar.

dont-drink-and-drivePeople are realizing that not only does the driver carry enormous responsibility but as a restaurant or bar they should also assume some of the responsibility and not continue to serve someone already intoxicated.  This just adds to the problem filling the roads with even more drunk drivers.

“Monitoring and limiting people’s drinks is at odds with many bars profit motives to sell alcohol as fast as you can to as many customers as you can without regard to the customer’s intoxication levels,” Ellis said.

car-accidentRestaurants could be a tremendous help in keeping many drunk drivers of the road and saving lives.  They need to train staff to recognize when a person has had too much and then to respectfully tell the customer that they will not be serviced more alcohol.  There are many independent programs out there that can educate bar tenders on exactly how to deal with too much drinking.  Obviously it’s a tender subject and staff will need specific tools to help them accomplish these goals.

If a restaurant serves alcohol then they need to assume the responsibility of serving it and understand that if a customer is over served to simply gain more profit, it can easily cost someone their life.  Drunk driving accidents and fatalities are on the rise nationwide and South Carolina is no exception.

“It is a sad reality that establishments do not take the risk of serving alcohol to customers seriously.  Once a person is intoxicated their judgment is diminished and bars and their staff should act and stop serving drinks to these people.  Restaurants need to make sure all staff is trained and can handle these situations.  It would save hundreds of lives,” says Joe Sandefur, managing partner at a top personal injury law firm in Myrtle Beach at

The ultimate responsibility always lies with the individual who decides to drink and then get behind the wheel of a car.  However, if establishments that serve alcohol were able to monitor those intoxicated individuals and cut them off, it might be the thing that saves a person’s life.